Hike for Haiti — WE DID IT

Thank you to our guest author, Guy Dauncey, IPSOS

On a summer’s Friday in London, a group of ‘Healthcare Hikers’ from Ipsos Healthcare used one of their ‘Responding Responsibly’ days to walk the Jubilee Greenway in aid of The Joseph School, in Haiti.

Following the devastation of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, The Joseph School was formed to help teach, inspire and empower a new generation of Haitian leaders on the premise that the best people to change Haiti will come from Haiti.

I have been lucky enough to be selected, along with three others from Healthcare in North America, to volunteer at The Joseph School, in January.

The entire trip will be funded by The Ipsos Foundation and Ipsos Healthcare, which means that any funds we raise will be donated directly to the school and its healthcare needs.

Hike for Haiti was conceived after a brainstorm session discussing ideas for Responding Responsibly.  The aim was to create a group participation event, inclusive to all, in a format where everyone could challenge themselves and push themselves as far as they were willing to commit to.

The Jubilee Greenway is a 60km circular footpath which runs through a number of London’s parks and past some of London’s most famous sights.  It was founded to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee – one km for each year of the Queen’s reign.  A team of 14 from across Healthcare volunteered to walk various stretches of the route, an opportunity to use a Responding Responsibly day, support a very worthwhile cause, get some exercise and see some of London’s sights all at the same time.  Here is an account of how we got on:

09:00  And we’re off… setting off from the office across Tower Bridge, we bumped into a number of bemused work colleagues making their way to the office in the opposite direction

10:00  A decent pace along the South Bank, a spring in our steps as we pass by so many of London’s attractions:  Shakespear’s Globe, Millennium Bridge, the London Eye, with views across the Thames to St. Paul’s Cathedral, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament before crossing Lambeth Bridge to the North side of the river

11:00  As we marched down The Mall, we encountered a large crowd outside Buckingham Palace – somehow we’d found ourselves caught up in the middle of the ‘Changing of The Guard’ ceremony which was unfortunately blocking our route.  A pause to see what was going on, followed by a slight detour and we were back on track

12:00  Through Hyde Park, past Princess Diana’s Memorial and Kensington Palace onto Little Venice, with its quirky canal boat cafés and restaurants, and a lovely stroll along the Grand Union Canal,

13:00  Continuing along Regents Canal, having passed through eclectic and edgy Camden, the team were starting to feel a little weary, andextremely hungry – almost time for our scheduled lunch stop

13:30  Angel, the HALF MARATHON point, and time for lunch… a bite to eat at The York pub, and time to say thank you and farewell to some, and hello to the rest of the Hikers joining us at this point

14:30  After reaching Victoria Park and saying goodbye to those routing back to the office on the 35km route (no mean feat), we ploughed on past the Olympic Park and along what turned out to be a rather long, dull and drizzly section along a disused railway line, but with some great company the time passed quickly

18:00  Some excitement as we reached the MARATHON marker at London City Airport as the sun came out and we watched the planes taking off and landing right overhead

19:00  Woolwich Foot Tunnel… a foot tunnel under the Thames?  Quite an experience walking underneath the river, and on reaching the South side, with the sun starting to set, those Golden Arches proved just too tempting… a quick McDonald’s stop was the fuel we needed to plod on for a few more kilometres

20:00  It was now dark as the five remaining Hikers passed the Thames Flood Barrier and rounded the O2 Centre – time to turn on the head torch!

21:00  We’d by now reached some major development works along the river around Greenwich.  Hitting a dead-end, we had no choice but to double-back on ourselves adding significantly to the overall distance.  Having passed the 50 KM point, and with legs starting to tire, this proved too much for some and a re-route to the nearest Tube station was the way forward – what a great effort!

22:00  Two Hikers hobbled on, blisters starting to form… past the Cutty Sark and with the London skyline all lit-up, spirits were still high… but enough was enough, man down – Uber ride for one!

23:00    Last man standing and 60km down, but owing to the diversions, still a way to go – where’s Tower Bridge gone?

23:30  There it is… the finish line – 14.5 hours / 66 KM, and a quick photo to prove that ‘WE DID IT’!

Collectively, we had walked almost 500 KM and over half a million steps, in just one day.  A big shout-out to the Healthcare Hikers:  Alistair Bates; Aniko Cseledi; Barenese Du-Pont; Charlie Adams; Dipesh Mangabhai; Gabriela Lopez; Myles Taylor; Nattali Samuel; Nicholas Dale; Paulina Dabrowska; Sabina Heinz; Salim Ben-issa; Sophie Oldfield.

Wow, what a great day – it ended up being a bit of a war of attrition, but it was certainly a team effort… and ooh, that last minute dash for the train home hurt!

The fundraising has gone unbelievably well – a huge thanks to everyone that has donated.

We’ve had an overwhelming response and this will go towards helping fund the School’s Healthcare needs including:

  • A medical team to administer vaccinations for the children
  • Nurse practitioners to conduct periodic health assessments of the children and to help with specific health issues
  • Medical treatments or surgeries that the children need
  • The setting up of a medical clinic recently acquired by The Joseph School Foundation

I’m looking forward to travelling to Haiti in January to help get the medical clinic up and running.

If you would like to see a short (2min) video of our journey, along with some photos, please go to: https://www.relive.cc/view/g24759701788

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