BRAVE Tasha Mackley is swapping the hills of the Vale of Belvoir for the steep, rocky inclines of Mount Kilimanjaro.
The 27-year-old is part of an intrepid team from the trauma orthopaedic department at Nottingham’s Queen’s Medical Centre.
They have pledged to take on the monster mountain, Africa’s highest at 19,341ft, to raise money for a teenage cancer unit at the hospital.
Tasha, from Redmile, said: “I’m very, very excited, but also a little bit nervous.
“We’re doing it to get a five-bedded teenage cancer unit built at QMC. At the minute, there’s nothing for teenagers. It ranges from the adult ward to the children’s ward and there’s nothing in between.”
The daring trip is a first for Tasha, who works at the hospital as a trauma orthapaedic staff nurse.
She is the youngest of the group of 44 adventurers. They leave the UK for Africa on Wednesday, start the trek on Saturday, and return to the base seven days later.
Tasha said: “A week walking is a long time, particularly because you take two steps forward and one step back because of the altitude. We’ll be walking up and then coming back down at night-time to sleep because of the altitude.”
Tasha has been preparing for the challenge by walking the hills in the Vale with her border collie Daisy, who her mum Tanya said will be sad to be missing out.
Tanya added: “We are immensely proud as a family that Natasha has committed herself to this project.
“Cancer is a deadly disease that can affect anyone. No-one is immune. It is all the more traumatic when it is a child.”
Tasha has also joined her colleagues on training expeditions in Derbyshire and the Lake District.
The fearless group aims to raise £40,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, which is committed to building specialist wards so teenagers across the UK have access to the right support.
So far, the QMC team has received more than £32,000 in sponsorship.
l If you would like to help the team meet their target and do your bit to help teenagers suffering from cancer, you can donate at www.virginmoneygiving.com/tashamackley