Karl Pemberton, Managing Director of Teesside-based Active Chartered Financial Planners, is preparing to reconquer Mount Kilimanjaro – despite vowing never to return.
He suffered severe altitude sickness on a previous fundraising trek, but was inspired to tackle the 19,341ft African peak once again with just nine weeks’ notice.
He signed up after being invited by client and good friend Jen Lonergan, wife of Leeds United goalkeeper Andrew Lonergan, who is climbing Kilimanjaro this August as part of an eight strong team of friends.
They are taking on the challenge in aid of mental health charity MIND and The GEM Appeal – in memory of Mrs Lonergan’s brother who took his own life in 2013.
Karl, who summited the dormant volcano in 2011 to raise money for Daisy Chain and Cancer Research, recalled: “I was really affected by altitude sickness and hated the experience so much I vowed never to return.
“However, Jen has really inspired me to join her to raise money for mental health charity MIND in memory of her brother. I feel now is the time to revisit and join such a wonderful group of close friends to achieve something that we will all remember forever.”
Karl continued: “The team at Active has a strong social conscience, and we regularly raise money for charities. The last twelve months have been difficult for me, as one of my closest friends and his daughter were severely injured in the Manchester Arena bombing, and another lost his three-year-old in a swimming pool accident. It had a profound effect on me mentally, and made me determined to help raise money for such a worthy and vital mental health charity.
“I struggled with my feelings but after speaking up I found things much easier to deal with. I’m determined to banish this damaging ‘Man Up’ culture which puts pressure on many to suffer in silence.
“If I can help raise awareness about mental wellbeing by speaking up, reaching the summit and raising much needed cash, then I’ve done my bit to help, especially by highlighting the issue among the business community.”
The other charity to benefit is the GEM Appeal, which raises money for research into rare genetic disorders. This is also a cause close to the Lonergans’ hearts as their daughter Millie was born in 2006 with a rare metabolic condition.
The team, which also includes Laura Wheater – wife of former Middlesbrough star David Wheater – aims to raise £250,000.
To donate visit: https://www.gofundme.com/team-250-kilimanjaro