Tuesday, 29 September 2015

Conquering the O2 Arena!

After months of annoying everyone with posts about my fundraising (sorry guys!), on Saturday it was finally time for me to climb the O2 Arena in London.

In case you've missed my spam haha, here's a post I wrote in July about why I decided to climb the O2. In brief, 2015 marked the tenth anniversary of my grandad's passing so I wanted to do a fundraising event in his memory, raising money for Ty Bryngwyn Hospice and Pancreatic Cancer UK. I have a fear of heights so with my common sense out the window, I decided that climbing the O2 would be the perfect fundraising activity!!

Leading up to the day, I kept reading up on reviews, people's experiences and general facts about the climb.  I completely stressed myself out knowing that the climb surface felt like a bouncy castle, that a lot of people found it strenuous and that going down on the other side would be far worse than climbing up!!! (Note to self: it's good to be prepared but some things just don't need to be read beforehand).

Saturday came and I was an actual mess in the morning.  There were some tears in the hotel, I couldn't eat my breakfast and mum said that my face was so white that I resembled the dead (cheers mum!!). Luckily we had to move hotels in the morning and there were gig tickets to be bought so I had a few things to take my mind off the climb.

We arrived at the O2 well in advance and just looking at the building made me feel physically sick. It really isn't that high at all, mum kept reminding me that it wasn't Mount Everest but at the time it felt like it was. Soon after, Mim arrived with her sister and I felt a bit more at ease. She is the adrenaline junkie/daredevil in our friendship so it gave me the motivation to toughen up. It was also lovely to have Nicole and Laura there to cheer us on.


before the climb!

Fifteen minutes before the climb, we headed over to 'base camp' to check in. We were handed waiver forms to fill in (which I probably should have read but I didn't need an excuse to run away there and then) and at 11:30 we were ushered into the briefing room.  We were introduced to our guide (I cannot for the life of me tell you what her name was as my mind was running riot, but she was female) and were made to watch a safety video.  The video was hysterical, a man communicating with us from the 'north camp' who made the expedition feel just as big a deal as it was in my head! We were then shown how to wear the safety gear before moving into the next room to get ready.

We were given climb shoes, a harness and a jacket (I was grateful for the sunny weather which meant that we didn't have to wear a full space suit!) and a last minute chance to empty our bladders.  Once everyone was equipped, we headed out to begin our climb.  We had our picture taken by an official photographer then I looked over the edge to see mum and to my surprise, she was stood with Kais and Mazin! I was so shocked to see them but I just waved at them as I was so nervous, I couldn't comprehend what was happening!! After everyone had been papped, it was time to begin.

happy face to mask the fear !!!

Coming from the biggest scaredy cat/most unfit person ever, the climb was actually fine! The beginning of the climb was fairly steep, and the surface felt odd as it was bouncy.  I was super grateful that it was a dry day as the grip on the blue walkway was questionable in parts, so it would have been much tougher in rain! To be honest, one of the worst things about the climb was trying to align the latch along certain points of the wire! I found that difficult at times, but never needed to rush as the people behind us were much slower. The higher we climbed, the flatter the walkway became and within no time, we'd made it to the top.  

At the top, we were unclipped and allowed to roam the platform and look at the incredible views of London.  It was great to be able to see my favourite city from this height, it looked even more amazing than usual. Mim and I took plenty of selfies to mark the momentous occasion and our guide took a picture of us too.  I didn't find our guide particularly informative, however I was so overwhelmed at having made it to the top, that I probably wouldn't have registered any facts anyway.

made it!!

hold the front page, MBKR actually taking selfies haha!

on top of the woooooorld!

the picture doesn't do the view justice!

Soon enough it was time to come back down, the bit I was most dreading to be honest! It was definitely more steep than the upward climb and I was constantly worried about slipping or falling over, even though I was perfectly safe in the harness.  Mim and I were third and fourth to go down and we reached the bottom very quickly. It was only then that I could laugh at myself for being so scared beforehand.  It was actually really fun and I would most definitely do the climb again. I also felt a sense of pride for facing my fear and doing something worthwhile for charity.

we climbed, we conquered!

It was all over far too quickly but it was amazing to be able to do something different to fundraise. As it stands, I have raised £553.12 (£640 when you include Gift Aid) which is absolutely crazy!! I set an initial target of £250 which I thought I would struggle to reach - never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined that people would be so kind.

I must give the biggest thank you's to the following: Mam, Emma, Rach, Paige, Caroline, Robert, Laura, Summer, Julia, Sam, Nat, Lynn, Justine, Liz, Kais and Mazin, Lisa, J.R & Min, Craig, Chuns, Dearbhla, Sarah, Helen and Rhiannon, Sheila, Shelby, Ceri, Jalisa, Lyn, Mr/Mrs Anonymous (it will forever bug me not knowing who you are!!!), Jo, Laura, Nic, Caryl, Liann, Charlotte, Dannii and Rachel. You are the reason why both charities are going to benefit as without you, there would be no donations. I will never forget your incredible generosity - not only have you helped to support two incredibly worthy charities, but you've helped me to do something amazing in memory of my grandad so THANK YOU xxx

Also I would like to thank every single person who sent me a good luck message.  Not everyone can/wants to donate money and I fully understand that, which is why the fact that so many people went to the effort of wishing me well meant just as much. The love I felt building up to the climb was just insane. I'm so fortunate to have the best group of friends in my life and I am so thankful for all the support as it gave me the determination to face my fear. I must once again thank Mam, Laura, Nic, Malika, Kais and Mazin for being cheerleaders on the day and also Mim for climbing with me and getting me through it. Without you, I would have struggled so much more - I didn't have time to dwell on the daunting prospect ahead of me as I needed to keep up with you haha!!!

My fundraising page will remain open for a little while as I know that some people still want to contribute now that I have climbed - you can donate here.

The 26th of September will forever be a special day to me. I hope that I managed to make my grandad proud and that all the money raised will help to make a difference to people's lives. Once again, thank you to everyone that supported me in one way or another, you are all stars.

Hwyl am y tro ✌️