Earls Barton trekker walked her way to mental wellbeing with ‘Couch to Everest’ challenge

An Earls Barton woman who has said her sofa was her best friend has urged people to give everything a go before it’s too late.

Tuesday, 29th October 2019, 6:00 am
Laura on her trek

Laura Dunsby was challenged by a work colleague to take on an 80-mile, 11-day trek in the Himalayas to Base Camp, Mount Everest.

With just six months to prepare, 29-year-old Laura got off her settee to train for the trek, spurred on by a fundraising goal in tribute to her mum.

Laura said: “My mum Caroline was 53 when she died of lung disease. I took on the Couch to Everest Base Camp Challenge in mum’s memory.

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Laura on the trail

“I have always wanted to do something to get fit and healthy so here was the opportunity.

“It all started when my friend Julie Shepherd came to me and said ‘I have a crazy idea, what do you think?’ - I said ‘OK’, not thinking what I’d said yes to.

“I got through it with my willpower as well as my own sheer grit and determination - many people thought I couldn’t do it I was ready to prove them wrong.”

Previously Laura, who works in medical HR at Berrywood Hospital, Northampton, would only walk to her car or the canteen but has since gone down two dress sizes and is nearly two-and-half-stone lighter.

Unfortunately, when 300m from Base Camp Laura’s travelling companion fell ill with altitude sickness, so she stayed with her to wait to be airlifted off the mountain.

Her trek has raised more than £2,000 for charities close to her heart.

She has donated half to the High Dependancy Unit at Northampton General Hospital where her mum was cared for and the other half to the specialist isolation suite being built at Berrywood.

Laura added: “Now I’ve done the trek I feel amazing mentally and physically. I was in a dark place mentally before taking it on.

Keeping warm - Laura heading to Everest Base Camp

“I felt absolutely incredible doing what I did and it’s an achievement to last a lifetime.

“Before taking on this challenge, I was the laziest person alive. This challenge has changed my life for the better not only physically but also mentally.

“I suffer with depression and anxiety, but this has helped me in my recovery.

“My advice to anyone who is feeling low is to treat every day as though it’s your last - laugh and give everything a go before it’s too late and talk to people.

“I would like to say a big thank you to Julie for letting me share this journey and everyone who has supported me along the way.”

For her next challenge Laura will abseil down the Northampon lift tower followed by another trek, this time up Kilimanjaro in 2021.

To donate to Laura go to www.justgiving.com/Laura-Dunsby or you can visit her blog lauzlou.wixsite.com/thisgirlcan.