Finola Beattie: Action Cancer Trekker Profile

03 December 2018

Having completed two treks for Action Cancer, Finola Beattie, from Four Winds, Belfast, is preparing for a third adventure challenge to Cambodia. Here, she tells us just what trekking for Action Cancer means to her and the fun to be had through fundraising.

“I contacted Action Cancer after my husband Joe was diagnosed with cancer in March 2016. I found their complementary therapy services hugely beneficial. Action Cancer started me on the process of accepting Joe’s diagnosis and ultimately, they helped me to deal with his passing in April 2017.  

“I enjoy walking and am a member of a local walking group. I’d always thought it would be good to do an overseas trek fundraise for a charity. I remember seeing a flyer for the Peru Trek in Action Cancer House. I thought it would be something really positive for me to do and a great way to give back because I had benefited directly from Action Cancer services. I signed up in July and we went on the trek in November 2017.

“I had just over three months to raise the minimum sponsorship which doesn’t sound like a lot of time but it is amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it. By breaking it down into little events - a street collection here, a bag pack there - I got the ball rolling and before I knew it I was on the plane to Peru having smashed my fundraising target with the help and support of my family and friends.”

What began as a quest for positive distraction from the pain of loss became a restorative adventure for Finola who found support among her fellow trekkers and developed strong friendships through the act of sharing.



“The Peru Trek was an amazing experience. The people on the trek were all really lovely and I developed some really strong friendships with people who had similar experiences to my own. Being able to share our experiences and talk about how our lives had been impacted by cancer was almost cathartic. It helped me to better understand what I felt and was a tremendous source of comfort and support.

“I really enjoyed the Peru Trek and got a lot out of it. My sister was keen to do the Great Wall of China Trek so I thought I’d go along too. We signed up together which was great and that set me off on the fundraising path again.”

Speaking about fundraising, Finola continued:

“Fundraising can be challenging. When I first signed up I was a bit intimidated by the fundraising target but the guidance and support from Action Cancer is excellent and I actually found the fundraising part fun.”

“China was an amazing experience. We got to see the real rural China, far from the tourist beaten track. It was really good fun, a great experience.

The penultimate day of the China Trek saw our volunteers tackle one of the most famous sections of the Great Wall – the Heavenly Ladder. Following a grueling climb over 1,000 steps up to the Wall, they trekked through 11 watch-towers to the ‘Heavenly Ladder’ and embarked on one last climb which was at a 45 degree angle involving another 460 steps. It was definitely not a walk in the park but as Finola shares, the rewards far outweighed the cost of such effort.  

 “Getting to the top of the Heavenly Ladder was incredible. It was definitely the hardest part of the challenge, especially because our legs were already sore from the days before. It was a tough climb but everybody just pulled together and encouraged each other. There were people at the top cheering you on and when you got to the top a lady put a medal around your neck and you were rewarded with the most amazing views of the mountains and the wall. It was certainly a challenge but a brilliant one. Everybody completed it and it was such a great achievement.”

Finola is already looking forward to her next challenge Action Cancer’s Cambodia Trek to Angkor Wat which will see participants trek 94km over 5 days from 16th November 2019.

“I think I’ve definitely got the trekking bug now! When I thought about what I gain from the experience and all the fun that comes with fundraising and trekking for Action Cancer, I knew I had to sign up for the Cambodia Trek. It’s something to look forward to and it’s lovely meeting people from all walks of life that you wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to meet with. Meeting people, getting out and doing something to help a great charity, that’s why I keep coming back to trek for Action Cancer and it’s why I would recommend the experience to anyone!”

Action Cancer is currently recruiting participants to their Cambodia Trek to Angkor Wat which takes place from 16th – 24th November 2019. The cost to register for this event is £200 per person and the minimum sponsorship required is £3,800 per person. To find out more about the Cambodia Trek please contact Lynn Sanderson by emailing [email protected] or call 028 9080 3349.