Two Walsall NHS colleagues will be swapping their scrubs for mountain gear as they take on the Himalayas to fundraise for their hospital’s charity.
Ashok Puligari, General and Colorectal Surgeon and Venugopal Guduri, Consultant in Trauma and Orthopaedics will be trekking the Annapurna Circuit in the Nepalese Himalayas on 2 October.
The high-altitude trek with varying trailheads and a wide range of side-treks is anticipated to take 12 days and will reach a maximum height of 5416 metres.
The keen fundraisers, who are originally from India, are hoping to raise £2,000 for Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Well Wishers charity. Being such a physical task, the pair are currently training intensely to prepare for the journey ahead.
Venugopal said: “We have formed a nice little group called BATES (Birmingham Annapurna Trek Expedition Society) and we do regular treks along the major mountains in the UK every fortnight.
Ashok, 60, is looking forward to completing the fundraiser and is glad to have taken up the challenge.
He said: “We walk and trek anywhere from 30km to 40km every week.”
Venugopal, 49 is excited to experience and embark on the journey after hearing great stories from his friends who have also done mountain treks.
Father-of-two, Venugopal added: “I love being closer to nature as it gives me moments of self-reflection and helps counteract workplace stress and anxiety.”
“Challenging myself will improve my physical and mental health immensely and this should make me a patient advocate for them to follow suit. “
They pair said: “The trek will also help us bond with members of the group, motivating and encouraging each other to keep us going and persevere and kindle the team spirit, the same quality that is essential for the NHS patient safety, efficiency and effectiveness.”
“Practising for the main treks has helped us recognise that we have expanded our organisational skills and that has given us a newfound self-confidence. The actual October trek will give us an insight into the sherpas’ culture and life in the Himalayas.”
Georgie Westley, Fundraising Manager at Walsall Healthcare, said: “We are so honoured that these two colleagues are fundraising in the name of Well Wishers.
“The charity raises money for items above and beyond what the NHS can provide to enhance our patients’ experience and Ashok and Venugopal are shining examples of this.
“We wish them all the best and are behind them all the way, and it would be great if others can support them on this journey too.”
If you would like to donate to this fundraiser, please go to the JustGiving page here: https://bit.ly/3Z7cNUl