Yoga teacher raises £2000 on Patagonian trek

PUBLISHED: 10:12 24 December 2007 | UPDATED: 13:07 04 May 2010

Taking the Paine Massif challenge are Cheryl (right) and Carole.

Taking the Paine Massif challenge are Cheryl (right) and Carole.

FORMER Little Downham yoga teacher Cheryl Sayers has raised £2,000 on a seven day trek around a Patagonian mountain range. Cheryl, the late husband of Pete Sayers, better known as Dennis of Grunty Fen, covered 100 kilometres, walking up to nine hours a da

FORMER Little Downham yoga teacher Cheryl Sayers has raised £2,000 on a seven day trek around a Patagonian mountain range.

Cheryl, the late husband of Pete Sayers, better known as Dennis of Grunty Fen, covered 100 kilometres, walking up to nine hours a day and camping overnight.

She was accompanied on the mammoth fund-raiser by her former yoga pupil, Carole Hatfield, who also used to live in Ely.

The pair, now from Cambridge, decided to take the Patagonia Hike in Argentina to raise money for cancer research at Cambridge's Addenbrooke's Hospital.

Pete died from prostate cancer and Cheryl, who works at a health and fitness centre in a Cambridge hotel, believes the hospital could not have done more to help him.

"Often there at the oncology unit with him, I was touched deeply by the journey people who have cancer go through and the need to bring in more advanced systems in order to develop a cure and ease suffering," she said.

Last year Cheryl, who is in her 50s, trekked Mount Kilimanjaro, spending up to 19 hours walking and struggling with the altitude to raise money for oncology at the hospital.

Now she hopes her latest fund-raiser will provide much needed cash for work being carried out with a new TomoTherapy machine which treats cancer of the prostate, head, neck and other rare cancers.

The machine is the first to be installed in an NHS hospital and is revolutionary for its potential to focus radiotherapy on a tumour without damaging any surrounding healthy tissue.

Addenbrooke's Charitable Trust is supporting research to evaluate the new machine on behalf of the Department of Health and it could benefit cancer patients both nationally and internationally over the next decade.

Cheryl and Carole trekked around the perimeter of the Paine Massif mountain, crossing streams and passing through woods and on the edge of precipices.

"It was very rough terrain," said Cheryl.

"When I lived in Ely I loved the fens - the beautiful sunrises and sunsets and the big skies. I used to train for marathons with Carole around the fens.

"When I decided to visit Patagonia, I was looking for something wild. I was born in South Africa and Patagonia is almost on the same lateral latitude.

"It was hard. We had to walk at great speed to get round the circuit, to make it in seven days."

The trek, rated second only to Everest Base Camp on the world chart, includes breath-taking views across glaciers, rivers, lakes, forests and abundant wildlife.

Now supporters are keen to know what challenge Cheryl has planned for 2008.

"It's like going into a jewellery shop and choosing the biggest diamond," she said. "It's hard to take second best after that.

"But the biggest thing for me is that you only have one life. So why not do something amazing?"

Cheryl is still accepting sponsorship and anyone who would like to donate should visit www.act4addenbrookes.org.uk/cheryl

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