Great Wall of China – Wrap Up
This year, our team of dedicated Kiss Goodbye to MS supporters faced one of UNESCO’s World Heritage sites – the Great Wall of China. The team, many of who live with MS themselves, travelled from different parts of the globe – Australia, New Zealand, the USA, England and Singapore to tackle this challenge, all in aid of Kiss Goodbye to MS!
The nine day adventure found the team winding their way across this breathtaking architecture that swerves through the north of China, all whilst immersing themselves into the beautiful culture. Together, they faced the Great Wall’s steep steps, and sometimes slippery conditions – having to descend on their backsides at one point!
All in all, the sore legs and blisters were all worth it to help accelerate research and ultimately find a cure for MS.
Day 1 started in the hustle of Beijing. None of the team had set foot in China before and found themselves joining the thousands of other tourists taking in the sights of The Forbidden City. Luckily for the group, being looked after by local tour guide Michael stopped anyone getting lost in the crowds. They followed lunch with a relaxing hour of Tai Chi in The Temple of Heaven before the hard graft begins.
Day 2 and these brave souls started to scale the largest, man-made structures on Earth. While on the first leg of the walk, the guide was sharing the history and mind boggling statistics of the Great Wall but no one was able to take it in as they were just getting used to difference between China and home.
After the first day of walking was over, it called for celebrations as one of the team, Jess, had her birthday. Champagne and cake had to be put on hold and swapped in for the local Chinese diet – yum!
Day 3 started a little bit chilly. Cold winds helped keep everyone awake in the early hours of the walk but luckily the storm passed and the sun put its hat on. Spirits were high while the troops completed the longest stretch yet. They made their way 10 kilometres over remote and rugged parts of the wall.
Day 4 and every bit of energy was needed. The squad has reached Crouching Tiger, a steep and winding part of the wall. The steps were smooth and proved a challenge but everyone made it to the summits together. The views of peak after peak looked magical with the yellow, red and orange trees – reportedly the favourite views so far.
Day 5 – The guys moved on to a more developed part of the wall, just 30 minutes up the road but managed to bring the bad weather with them. They still managed to squeeze in a 5 kilometre stretch but the rain made the steep parts of the wall a little slippy so there was only one way down – the backside.
By the time everyone got back there was not a dry sock in the house so hot showers and fresh food were enjoyed by all.
Day 6 – Almost there. The last part of the wall and safe to say the busiest. As the group were making their way back to Beijing this seemed to be a popular tourist stop – especially as the weather had cleared and left the air much cleaner. With many sore legs, the option of a cable car to the top was a fantastic break.
The group spent their last day on the wall telling stories as why they wanted to walk for Kiss Goodbye to MS. Some live with MS, others have friends/ family or work in the field. These real- life situations helped everyone to understand just how important what they have done really is.
Day 7 was the end of the trekking but being back in Beijing is far from relaxing. Trusty local tour guide Michael was on hand to share his favourite local traditions. Starting with a tea house and the ancient tea ceremony of China followed by a delicacy that he hadn’t stopped thinking about since the trip started – Peking duck. Once the food was gone and bellies were full everyone was grateful for the experience and the kindness of all the donations.
Our incredible team pushed themselves to complete this challenge, and with their passion and dedication, they raised just over $70,000!! These vital funds will go towards vital MS research into the cause, prevention, better treatments and cures for multiple sclerosis.
We really could not do what we do without the passion and dedication of our beautiful Kiss Goodbye to MS community – so thank you, to you all.