Hats off to Marie!

6th March 2017

Our fundraisers always go the extra mile – however, not many of them brave tarantulas, tropical heat and a 90k jungle trek.

York mum Marie-Louise Surgenor took it all in her stride during a gruelling five-day walking challenge through Cuba’s Escambray Mountains in aid of York Against Cancer.

Marie is one of the people behind York Rocks and other concerts that raise money for us, and she’s also done several walks in aid of our charity in memory of her grandmother, who died of cancer six years ago.

And when the chance came to take part in a more exotic charity challenge being run by her employers, The Bibby Line Group, she and some of her work colleagues jumped at the opportunity.

Around seven people from her Dunnington-based office started raising cash to make the trip for various charities and Marie teamed up with friend Jen Steel, who was fundraising for the Pancreatic Cancer Research Fund.

They raised sponsorship cash and held a fundraising concert to get money together before flying to Cuba and beginning their trek of a lifetime from Santa Clara to Trinidad, both towns in Cuba.

It was a real adventure, says Marie, who raised more than £2,500 with her trek.” I didn’t know anything about Cuba – I knew it was going to be hot and that was about it, really!”

The heat and humidity were high, and the jungle trails were often overgrown, so that their guide had to use a machete to clear the way.

And it was while stocking up with food for their trek that Marie faced her biggest challenge in the way of local wildlife – a tarantula that turned up in a banana crate.

 “I only held it for the second that it took to take a picture!” laughed Marie. “It was the size of my hand. I thought the hairs would be soft but they were actually quite prickly.”

Spiders apart, Marie says it was a fantastic experience. “I enjoyed it immensely,” she said. “It was a beautiful country and I would love to go back there.”