Kairen Brown, from Barwick-in-Elmet, spent 10 days hiking parts of the 13,000 mile wonder, despite recently recovering from breast cancer. The 60-year-old signed up for the challenge to mark the 10th anniversary of husband Dean’s death, as well as to improve her fitness following her illness and to raise awareness of MS.
She said: “MS is an unpredictable condition that’s often exhausting and debilitating. I witnessed it in its cruellest form. It took Dean’s life long before he died. But he faced MS with incredible bravery. Even when he could no longer eat, speak or do anything for himself, he never lost that sparkle in his eyes. I want Dean’s death to have made a difference in some way, and to mean that others won’t have to go through the same thing.”
Kairen started her challenge by scaling Heaven’s Ladder – a steep mountainside ascent of 200 steps to the ridge of the wall. The group then trekked over stone, earth and wood through small towns and mountain villages to Beijing before spending the final day in China visiting Tiananmen Square and exploring the Forbidden City.
Kairen, who cared for Dean for ten years, said: “The chemotherapy altered my breathing and at one point I struggled to catch my breath while on the wall. Once I refocused, I faced the challenge head on. It was an emotional journey because you keep remembering why you’re there, but it was an experience of a lifetime.”
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/kairen-brown to donate.