Rattlesnakes, a bear and desert heat - hiker shares experiences to raise £10,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support

Rich Shenton is undertaking a  2,650 mile for Macmillan Cancer Support.
Rich Shenton is undertaking a 2,650 mile for Macmillan Cancer Support.

An intrepid adventurer has crossed deserts, chased off a bear and dodged rattlesnakes as he tackles an incredible fundraising challenge in memory of his

grandmother and uncle.

Derbyshire man Rich Shenton is halfway through a solo hike from Mexico to Canada which he is doing to raise £10,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.

He said: “The Pacific Crest Trail is 2,650 miles long and takes on average five and a half months to complete. It winds its way through desert, to snowy mountaintops and over the highest peak in the continental United States. I am hiking unsupported and carrying all the food, water and equipment I need to hike on my back, camping in the wilderness along the way.

“I have had amazing ups and unfortunately downs too. The trail throws so many challenges at you, from 35°c heat in the desert, with no shade or water, to river crossings up to waist deep. I have had to chase a bear out of my campsite and used my hiking poles to move rattlesnakes off the trail. I have overcome a torn tendon in my shin, and the battle against blisters is never ending, but I’m still going and enjoying every painful step.”

Rich was inspired to take on this challenge after seeing the support Macmillan gave his family. He said, “My family have been greatly affected by cancer. I remember losing my grandmother shortly after finishing university and she spoke very highly of Macmillan and their staff. More recently, my aunt lost her husband, my uncle, Peter, to cancer and it was a long process of pain, treatment and hope.

Rich’s fundraising will continue to support vital services and fund Macmillan health professionals across the county, like those based at the NGS Macmillan Unit at Chesterfield Royal Hospital, and the Macmillan Information Centre at the Royal Derby Hospital, as well as community based services such as the Derbyshire Dales Befriending Service.

Olympia Shipley, fundraising manager for Derbyshire, said: “Rich’s challenge is incredible and we’re wishing him all the best over the next few months. I really can’t thank him enough for his dedication. Every £28 Rich raises can fund an hour of a Macmillan nurse. “

Rich, who lives in Derby, said: “Every penny I am able to raise will go to a fantastic cause that my family has witnessed first hand. If you want to support me, please visit my JustGiving page and donate. You will be helping to make a difference to vital Macmillan services!”

If you would like to support Rich’s challenge, visit: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/rich-on-the-pct. You can also follow his progress on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rich.on.the.pct.2018/.