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Bath Mum battles ill health to take on Indian Adventure

Bath mum Debbie Saffin, who over the years has suffered on-going ill health, is taking on a challenge of a life time. In October 2015 Debbie will put on her walking boots to hike the Himalayas and discover the spiritual home of the Dalai Lama as part of The Forever Friends Appeal’s India trekking team. By taking on this incredibly physical challenge, Debbie will be  stepping firmly outside her comfort zone. She will be fundraising for the Royal United Hospital’s Cancer Care Campaign to say thank you for caring for her over a number of years.

Having spent much time as a patient at the RUH, she explains: “I am also doing this trek to say a huge thank you to the RUH for their support over many years, which has enabled me to conquer my ill health instead of it conquering me. They have not just saved my life from a close to death experience, but continue to help me. They have been extremely caring, supportive and understanding, and always willing to answer any questions and to give advice. I couldn’t have hoped for a better team of people to be there not just for me, but also my family. I have also lost a loved one from cancer and therefore appreciate how much this Centre will benefit our community. I can’t think of a better way to say thank you than to help raise funds for this new Centre. I know I will find this challenge extremely difficult, but none the less I remain determined to complete this trek for the benefit of others.”

The RUH Cancer Care Campaign is currently over half way to achieving its aim of raising £8.5 million, which will contribute vital funds to the building of a pioneering new Cancer Centre for the Royal United Hospital in Bath.


Debbie continues: “I currently suffer from a severe skin condition that affects my feet, which can cause extreme pain when walking. I have used holistic therapies not just to gain physical, but mental strength through this extremely tough journey. I practice a meditation technique ‘Mindfulness’ which is also practiced by the Tibetan people of the Dalai Lama. At first I thought that this challenge was unachievable and totally out of the question, but with the support of the RUH, friends and family, I truly believe I can do this and if I can surely anyone can.”

Departing in October 2015, The Forever Friends Appeal’s India Dalai Lama challenge, in association with Global Adventure Challenges, is to trek for 67km over five days through this fascinating region of North India at the heart of the world’s highest mountain range. Explore the Kingdom of Gaddi – a semi nomadic race who wander the high passes with their cattle – passing Hindu settlements and Buddhist Monasteries with spectacular views of the Himalayan mountains. This incredible challenge will end with time to explore the incomparable Taj Mahal, the greatest monument to love ever built!

If you would like to join Debbie and travel to Northern India to raise funds towards the build of a pioneering new Cancer Centre for the Royal United Hospital (or another department in the hospital of your choice) The Forever Friends Appeal will be holding an ‘India Experience Evening’ at the RUH on Wednesday 28th January 2015 to learn more about the trek and the RUH Cancer Care Campaign. If you’re interested, or would like more information visit our India Trek page.

Left to right: Debbie Saffin, Jill and Malcolm Pearce (volunteers at The Forever Friends Appeal) at The Forever Friends Appeal’s Summer Volunteer Party.

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