A NURSE will take part in a trek to Machu Picchu in aid of a breast cancer charity after becoming one of just 20 people to win a national competition.
Caroline Lewington, a theatre staff nurse at Worthing Hospital, will join celebrities Ashley Roberts and Matthew Wolfenden for the ten-day challenge in September.
She was selected after applying for a competition in Fabulous magazine, which was organising the trek to raise funds for CoppaFeel.
Caroline, 43, of West Street, Sompting, said: “Through my work I am fully aware that this disease not only affects the patient’s life but it can also have a profound effect on their loved ones.
“If we bring the message forward and raise awareness then it will hopefully urge people to come forward and get checked before it is too late.”
Caroline’s trek will see her hiking across the Andes for up to nine hours each day. Intense heat in the day but freezing temperatures in the night, along with dealing with the high altitude will provide a stern test for those taking part.
The ten days will conclude with the group arriving in Machu Picchu – a UNESCO world heritage site and new wonder of the world.
Caroline said she was looking forward to the challenge but admitted it would not be easy-going.
“I used to be very fit but I have slipped in last two years,” she said.
“I have a dog who needs lots of exercise so I’ll be hiking up the Downs a lot. I want to prove that a mum of four, in her early forties, with a busy life, can achieve such a challenge and hopefully make a difference.”
Caroline has been set a goal of raising £3,895 before she sets foot in Peru and has already raised £1,300.
The charity, CoppaFeel, was set up to urge women to check for the tell-tale signs of breast cancer and stamp out its late detection.
It was set up by Kris Hallenga, who was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer – the most advanced – at the age of 22.
Caroline said: “‘I’ve got a good friend who had a double mastectomy and it is awful that someone so young is going through it and there are a couple of girls at the hospital who have had it too.
“I really enjoy my job but it can be very thought provoking especially when operating on cancer patients, in particular breast cancer, however, the surgeons and the breast cancer support staff here are truly amazing.”
The NHS currently screens women for breast cancer only from the age of 50.
Caroline said she did not think the NHS could afford to screen everyone as standard, so it was crucial to raise awareness of the key symptoms and the importance of regular checks.
For more information about breast cancer, visit www.coppafeel.org
To donate to Caroline’s cause, visit www.coppafeel-peru2014.everydayhero.com/uk/caroline