Kirsty’s Climb up Mount Kilimanjaro

Kirsty Hilton

Kirsty works for the Trust at the I.T. Services Walk In Centre  Duncan Macmillan House Health Informatics Service.  

Kirsty and her colleagues link regularly with the Involvement Team. We got chatting  over a hot laptop and found out she was planning a very big adventure!  The reasons for attempting this challenge were inspired by  her recovery from stress, anxiety and depression. 

Here is Kirsty’s story…..

In October 2016, I’m going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa at 19,341 feet. This will be a 9 day trek on the Lemosho route and will be through Charity Challenge (the same company who ran the BT Red Nose Climb 2009). This is the biggest challenge I’ve ever undertaken and hope that I can raise as much money as possible.

The trip is entirely self funded – something I believe to be important as it means EVERY penny donated and raised will ALL go to Mind.

My reason for doing this as well as my own personal challenge, is to raise more awareness for Mental Health as it’s something I’m so passionate about. I work for the Trust and I know how valuable their Mental Health services are to people. However I don’t believe Mental Health gets anywhere near the support and funding it needs. I want to be a part of trying to change this.

I absolutely love exercise and keeping healthy and most people know this. As well as constantly going to the gym, I walk everywhere and also regularly go walking with family in Peak District amongst other places.

However, there are a lot more people who won’t know that I’ve suffered with depression and anxiety over the years. I was off work for 4 months in 2015 with stress, depression and anxiety, and was a shadow of myself at the time. There were days I struggled to even get out of bed and dressed. I was constantly in tears; other days I just felt numb – not even sadness but just a complete absence of emotion. It’s hard to convey how this felt, but as with all mental health issues, talking about it can be one of the hardest challenges to overcome as it could lead you to feeling a failure and vulnerable.

Through friends, family and my own mental will, I managed to deal with the changes all happening at once in my life, a lot which were out of my control, find ways to manage and am now a much happier and content person. Mental Illness will never go away but I know how I can recognise the signs, manage it and use it to enable me to live my life to the full.

Read Kirsty’s story in full on her blog here



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