Linda Cullen: Action Cancer Trekker Profile

17 December 2018

U105 evening show host, Linda Cullen, recently completed Action Cancer’s Great Wall of China Trek raising vital funds for the charity’s prevention, detection and support services. Here, Linda shares the inside scoop on charity fundraising and trekking on one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

 “I signed up to Trek the Great Wall of China because I wanted to fundraise for Action Cancer. The location was not a major factor for me; it was the cause of Action Cancer that motivated my sister-in-law and I to take on the trekking challenge. The services that the charity offer to local people are so important and do so much good in Northern Ireland. 

“Two of my uncles died from cancer and only six months ago, a really close family friend died of lung cancer. Everybody knows someone who has been affected by cancer in some way and my sister-in-law and I decided that it was time to do something more to help raise money for such a worthwhile cause. We agreed to go, we signed up and a few weeks later we started fundraising.

“To be honest, I was initially nervous about the trek because I have two bad knees. Even though I’m strong and I go to the gym, my knees are not good and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to make it up all the steps on the Great Wall.  

“It was difficult and I was last in the group every day because of my knees but everyone was so supportive and encouraging and the possibility of not completing the trek didn’t even cross my mind when I was there!”

Action Cancer partners with Global Adventure Challenges to deliver one overseas trekking challenge per year. These challenges enable participants to fundraise for the charity and swap their home comforts for a demanding physical challenge in a far-flung land. As Linda shares, the experience is an unforgettable adventure:

“Being on the Great Wall of China is surreal. I couldn’t recommend it enough. It was amazing the whole thing - the organisation; the wall; the challenge; the people. I’d recommend it to absolutely everybody!

“The Great Wall of China is something people have this on their bucket lists all their life and there we were actually trekking on it! I had to pinch my sister-in-law to make sure I wasn’t dreaming! It was the experience of a lifetime. It was just amazing from the minute we started fundraising, to getting on the bus down to Dublin airport and meeting the rest of the group and our guides and trekking, everything was so well organised and we all had a fantastic time!”

There are many reasons to trek for Action Cancer and as Linda explains, the benefits of doing so far outweigh any cons and she whole heartedly recommends the experience to anyone.

“Don’t overthink it - just sign up and do it! The Action Cancer trek probably did more for me than I did for it and that’s the truth. A trekking challenge will open up your whole world in ways that you don’t even realise. I think it’s made me more outgoing. I used to be confident when I was younger but with the ups and downs of life I became a bit more insular and didn’t really mix much beyond my small group of friends. I think the trek brought me back to the way I used to be. It changed my perspective on everything. It reminded me who I was and helped me notice the good there is in the world.”

Raising £3,750 and conquering the Great Wall of China is a pretty daring feat for someone with no prior fundraising experience and weak knees but, despite some initial fears, after registering Linda launched her money-making plans and didn’t look back.

“I thought the fundraising target was going to be challenging to reach but so many people have been touched by cancer and as soon as you mention the cause people want to help and give to your fundraising. It’s definitely easier than you think it’s going to be.

“What I didn’t know when I started fundraising was that Action Cancer actually help you to organise street collections and bag packs. They’re so involved in working with you to reach your target. Whatever you need to promote your event, whether its flyers, tickets, posters, or whatever, Action Cancer are on hand to provide support and guidance to make sure your event goes well. I had no idea they did all that and it is such a fantastic support.”

Action Cancer’s Great Wall of China Trek helped to confirm for Linda what she had always believed, that charity fundraising matters.

“I’m definitely going to do another Action Cancer trek. For me, the trek was about giving something back and it showed me that even a small contribution can make a big difference. The funds I raised by participating in a trek helps Action Cancer to deliver its services, so my efforts have helped make life a little better for someone affected by cancer. For me, that’s an incredible feeling.”

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.