Monika Pollard is always reaching for heights - East Cheshire Hospice

Monika Pollard is always reaching for heights

Playing basketball means Monika Pollard is always reaching for heights.

But climbing to Everest base camp was a different ball game altogether.

Monika, who owns Tiny Adventures children’s day nursery in Macclesfield, was fundraising for East Cheshire Hospice.

The trip was in memory of her mother-in-law Theresa Connolly who died almost 10 years ago, aged 73.

Monika, a keen hiker, had always wanted to undertake an Everest expedition, though her adventure was more eventful than planned.

Monika Pollard on her Everest climb.

She said: “We were supposed to fly to Lukla, the second most dangerous airport in the world, but it was closed due to bad weather.

“Instead, we drove through Nepal in a jeep for more than 24 hours and then slept for barely three hours before a 12-hour walk on the first day.

“It meant we were thrown in at the deep end, adding a further 30 kilometres to our walk which was 140k altogether.

“It took us 10 days to get to base camp where I suffered terrible altitude sickness. So much so I felt like I was drunk.

Mission accomplished … Monika at base camp.

“I was with two other girls and it was so bad that on the way down we got a helicopter ride back to Katmandu.

“The hike was much harder than anticipated. I’m physically fit, but I struggled breathing as the air was so thin.

“No one prepares for you how difficult it is mentally. At first, I said I’d never do it again, but if someone asked me I’d return.

“Walking is not a problem for me. I play basketball and am physically fit.”

Monika is a member of the Macc Town Raiders and Congleton Grizzlies basketball teams.

Monika with fellow climbers.

Team-mates have supported her fundraising which has reached £1,584. Husband Kevin works for the London Stock Exchange which may match fund the total.

Monika, from Slovakia, has also put collection buckets at her two nurseries and the Hospice charity shop at Thornton Square.

She said: “I decided to raise funds for Hospice because we live in Macclesfield and all our friends are here. I had a wonderful relationship with my mother-in-law who was devoted to her four granddaughters.

Monika enjoying the view.

“She was supposed to go into a hospice near her home in Burnley, but didn’t live long enough due to her oesophageal cancer.

“Hospices wouldn’t exist without fundraising and they provide palliative care at the time of greatest need.”

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