Sonia Cooke hasn’t just taken on Everest Base Camp to raise money for Help for Heroes, she has also headed to the Himalayas in the face of some personal challenges. Sonia is a great advocate for mental health and physical wellbeing, issues that affect many people both military and civilian. It is something Sonia personally has had to battle on a regular basis.
“The training for Everest Base Camp has encouraged me to get the help that I had been avoiding for many years and to focus on myself for a bit. I see this challenge as an immense positive: it demonstrates that even when times are tough there is nothing that you cannot achieve without determination and teamwork.”
We asked Sonia about her preparation for the trek.
Why did you choose to trek to Everest Base Camp?
“When the email from Help for Heroes landed in my inbox about a year ago my initial thought was ‘why not?’ followed by ‘well…it’s now or never!’ After all, life isn’t a dress rehearsal and it would be rather boring if all I did was work. I suppose I chose this challenge because of the lure of the thought of being in such an amazing place, being close to Everest, a mountain that we’ve heard so many stories about over the years.”
Tell us a bit about your training
"My friends have kept me motivated through my training. Plus, I’ve been training with Veterans who have that “can do” attitude. My boys have also kept me going through injury, training, rain, snow and even two falls descending Snowdon... in the same week! No sympathy, they just laughed and kept me moving. This is the same treatment I have come to expect from my fellow Base Camp buddies on our Facebook group. The advice and gentle ribbing (mainly over my pink hiking boots) has certainly kept me going through the days of fundraising and training."
What are you most excited and nervous about?
"I am most excited about meeting everyone at the airport on November 11. I anticipate that we will all come to rely on everyone to keep each other going. It is going to be brilliant to meet the people that I will be sharing this incredible experience with. I will be most nervous about physically reaching our goal of Base Camp. I have suffered from altitude sickness before and that will be a worry during this trip."
What has setting this goal taught you about yourself?
"This goal has taught me to look after myself, disciple and focus. I have learnt that I can achieve things that I didn’t believe possible; a little self-belief goes a long way."
Where could your determination and hard work take you? Click here to mark your own milestone with your own personal achievement.
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