Foster carer Karen Underwood trekked along the Great Wall of China to raise money for The Fostering Network. Karen and her husband Simon have been foster carers for Wiltshire Council for four years. Here Karen reflects on her experience.
What can I say? China was amazing in every way.
The challenge began at the airport meeting a group of strangers that I would be spending the next nine days with and it ended with saying goodbye to a supportive, fun, loud and positive group of friends. We shared rooms, beds, mealtimes, dodgy toilet facilities and our own individual personal stories of why we were there, it was emotional!
The Great Wall was so much more than I could have imagined, we walked on it, over it, alongside it and constantly up and down the very steep uneven steps of it. I think it would be very fair to say that by the end of our challenge we didn't want to see any steps for a while! We spent six days walking along different parts of the wall, restored sections and sections of ruins where we had to walk alongside the wall. We also had the privilege of being on the wall to watch the sunrise (although we had to get up at 5.15am) and were still out walking that day long enough to be on the wall when the sun set! It was not just a stroll along a wall, it was definitely a challenge and I loved every minute of it. We even got to spend a day in Beijing taking in a few sights such as Tiananmen Square and The Forbidden City, which was a completely different experience to walking the wall. Fantastic!
I've been overwhelmed by the amount of support I've received and would like to say a massive thank you to all that have supported in any way, donations, words of support, good luck cards/letters and my husband Simon for looking after the home and our three foster children while I was away.
I also want to thank our three foster children as they managed so very well in the home and with their daily routines with just Simon at home with them. I think they missed me a little as I was greeted with big hugs from all and one even came up to the airport with Simon to pick me up, which I thought was really sweet!
My fundraising total reached over £3000 for The Fostering Network so again THANK YOU to everyone for supporting my challenge and if anyone reading this is thinking of doing something similar, go for it!
If you have been inspired by Karen, why not sign up for one of our challenges?