Sheena Kearsey

Cause: MND NSW
Adventure: Trek Together For MND 2017

As our Adventurer of the Month, Sheena has scored herself a $100 Paddy Pallin voucher! To be our next month’s winner, make sure you’re uploading your journey to social and use the hashtag #IveBeenInspired.

What inspired you to take on your Inspired Adventure with MND NSW?

My sister Jodie, she is 35 years old and was diagnosed with MND 3 ½ years ago. Since there is no cure for MND, I continually find myself wondering, “What can I do to help?” I saw the advertisement for the trek and thought “wow, now that would be cool! I tossed the idea around in my head for a week or so, then took the next step and requested the information pack. One night I was flicking through the information and right there on page 7 there was a picture of “Team Jodie” at the MND Walk last year. That was my sign; from that moment I knew I was meant to do this trek! Plus it was South America! What other inspiration do you need!?

How did you feel leading up to the challenge? Have you ever been to Peru before?

I have never been to Peru before, so I was excitedly nervous! Nervous because it was big for me. Leaving my family for 12 days to travel to the other side of the world, to walk for 5 days along a trail up in the clouds! Excited because I’ve always wanted to do something challenging like this. As the trek got closer I felt confident that I was physically up for the challenge, but I knew the emotional and mental side of things were going to be the hardest part.

What were some of the highlights of your fundraising experience?

Our fundraising methodology was to use the power of social media. I told everyone I was cashing in my karma credits and I was now calling in all my favours. We set up a Facebook page and updated it weekly with what we have been doing in preparation, bringing everyone on the journey. In 7 weeks we have raised just over $5,000. We also ran a chocolate drive and a trivia night. I have been humbled and overwhelmed by people’s generosity. My youngest child finished pre-school 3 years ago and they donated $500, I had a school friend who I haven’t seen in over 15 years donate $200. It was those who I least expected to help out who did. The kind of generosity we received just blew my mind.

"Watching those who had lost family members hit that highest point and reach to the sky, for them feeling like they were so much closer to heaven on top of that mountain."

What have been your biggest challenges in taking on an Inspired Adventure? How did you overcome this?

The biggest challenge for me was dealing with my emotions! Physically and mentally what did I have to complain about, people with MND would give anything to be able to walk, out of breath on that trail for 12 hours. They would love to be able to do the things we all take for granted like camp and sleep on bed rolls, sit on a stool at a table and each alpaca and some of the different varieties of potato and corn and get out of bed unassisted in the middle of night to use the porta-loo when it’s 3 degrees outside. Taking every step on that trail, knowing I was doing it for our loved ones who couldn’t. Seeing the most amazing views wishing Jodie could have come with me and Holly. Watching those who had lost family members hit that highest point and reach to the sky, for them feeling like they were so much closer to heaven on top of that mountain. That was a heavy load to carry, and crying was as natural on that trail as the stone paths and hills we climbed.

Have you noticed any changes or transformation in your life since taking on this adventure?

I think my transformation took place 3½ years ago, I still remember where I was when I got the phone call about my sister. Life is short; it’s so precious and can change in a heartbeat. It’s so important to stop and smell the roses, to enjoy the little things, make every day count and while we are waiting on the ultimate miracle of a cure for MND, it’s important to notice the small miracles that happen everyday. You had a lot of time to be in your own thoughts on that trail, and it helped me remember the person who I truly am and made me realize the type of person I want to be. The Inca Trail Trek for MND for me was something that I could do, to raise money, to raise awareness, my contribution to the cure.

What was the highlight of your adventure?

There were so many awesome parts of this journey and this is the number 1 question everyone has asked. Reaching Dead Woman’s pass at 4,215 metres above sea level, walking up that path and through the sun gate to see Machu Picchu for the first time. Sharing this experience with my cousin Holly and all the funny moments. I will remember all of these for my lifetime, but truly the highlight was the people I did this with, this wasn’t a group of people out having fun, this was personal, it was our pilgrimage to honour our loved ones, each with a different story but all connected through MND, united together to prove that with the right mindset, determination, lots of good humour, and by never giving up, you can conquer anything. It was an honour and privilege to do this trek with them and I am a richer person for having met these people.

What advice would you offer to other people looking to complete a challenge like this?

Just do it! Life will change without permission, and take some advice from Richard Branson; “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you’re not sure you can do it, say YES- then figure out the rest later.”

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Become our Adventurer of the Month to win a $100 Paddy Pallin voucher

Take a picture whilst on your adventure or when you’re training and use the hashtag #IveBeenInspired and your adventure hashtag. The most exciting use of the hashtag, with an adventure, and fitness focus will be our Adventurer of the Month – it’s that easy!