Author: Samara Thomson, Creative Coordinator Date Posted: 22 June 2015
Tanya and Jason Titman recently undertook an enormous challenge. They raised over $20,000 for the Mater Foundation Cancer Research Program and completed the inca Trail to Machu Picchu (a 4 day trek at altitudes up to 4,200m above sea level). The funds
Tanya and Jason Titman recently undertook an enormous challenge. They raised over $20,000 for the Mater Foundation Cancer Research Program and completed the legendary Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (a 4 day trek at altitudes up to 4,200m above sea level). The funds they raised go towards providing better quality of life for patients diagnosed with Cancer, specifically men suffering a terminal diagnosis for Prostate Cancer.
Last week Tanya and Jason attended the Mater Foundation Awards to receive recognition for their contribution to the Cancer Research fundraising efforts. Tanya and Jason have been overwhelmed by the support of clients, partners, affiliates and friends who donated to this worthy cause.
Tanya was part of a large team of Mater Foundation supporters; together the group raised over $300,000 for cancer research. The team supported each other through the grueling trek up the Peruvian mountains to the ancient ruins of ‘the lost city of the Incas’.
Before the trek Tanya shared her personal experience with the Consolid8 team and explained why this challenge was so important – “My family has been blessed to have the amazing team at Mater Hospital support a family member through diagnosis, treatment and recovery from cancer. Fortunately, our story had a happy ending but for many families, the outcome is one of incomprehensible mental torment and grief. We all desperately would love to find a cure for cancer but in the interim we need to find ways to support those facing with a terminal diagnosis.”
Below is an outline of the trials, tribulations and triumphs Tanya faced during the trek.
Wed 15 April 2015: Leave Australia, Peru bound
The Mater Foundation team headed from Sydney Airport to George Chaves Airport, Peru to begin their Trek for Cancer adventure! Here’s the team sporting their bold red t-shirts about to board at Sydney Airport:
Thu 16 Apr 2015: Touchdown in Lima, and on to Cusco
The team left Lima early in the morning after a Peruvian continental breakfast, which included super strong coffee to get them through the day!
The views flying into Cusco were awe-inspiring; the team flew past snow-capped mountains peaking out over the clouds and took in the beauty and chaos of the Peruvian mountain ranges. The guides inspired everyone with stories of the ancient Inca and Cusco’s magical history. The city of Cusco was beautiful and one of the highlights of the trip.
After some lightening, rain, pisco sours, purple corn juice, alpaca meat and KJ’s “best fish ever”, the team took a walk through the myriad of Cusco streets, down the aptly named ‘slippery stairs’, after climbing to over 3,500 metres to get acclimatised to the Peruvian altitude.
To finish the evening off in style the group found a fancy Peruvian pisco bar, drank wine and played trivia games. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and everyone was excited for the adventures tomorrow and beyond!
Fri 17 Apr 2015: Visit a local school
Today was a really special day for the group. The team had an early breakfast and Tony arrived from India to complete the group. After a great feed and some inspiring introductions from the recent arrivals Jesse, Craig and Tony, we travelled to Chicuchas Wasi, an Alternative School for Girls that provides free education for local girls from Indigenous families.
Tanya found this visit to be the most touching and memorable experiences of the entire trek – “These girls have been abandoned by their fathers because they are female and as a result are left with their mothers who have no education or income to support them and end up living in poverty. Chicuchas Wasi school provides them with opportunities that are so powerful that the children are willing to walk 8km to school each morning. Once accepted into the school they are provided with uniforms, food and an education, all for free. We have four children (three girls and a boy) so we are well aware how important education is, specifically in a girl’s life. Australia is the land of the privileged but we would like our children to experience what we experienced today. We believe this would give them a better understanding of what it is like for other children around the world. We would like to say a huge thank you to Ruth and her team for setting up Chicuchas Wasi, as the difference this school is making is undeniable.”
The Mater team made a combined personal donation of $2,100 to the school as part of the trip. The gratitude the girls and their teachers showed humbled the group. The team got to play with the donated equipment and supplies as the school yard became awash with bouncing balls and spinning hoola hoops. The girls and the Mater group played hard! Some of the team sat with the girls and showed pictures of their families and lives back in Australia using a basic Spanish translation sheet. The tears were flowing, smiles beaming from ear to ear, roars of laughter and screams of delight filled the air! Time stood still for a moment as men, women and children from very different cultures connected in the spirit of unity.
Everyone agreed that the school visit was the highlight of the trip so far. After a stroll through beautiful Cusco at night and a banquet dinner complete with some impressive ceremonial music and dancing (Jason was picked from the audience to join in), the team retired for some much needed sleep. What an inspiring day!
Sat 18 Apr 2015: Exploring Cusco
Today the Mater Team spent most of the day exploring the outskirts of Cusco visiting sacred Incan sites in Sacsayhuaman, Q’enqo, Pukapukara and Tambomachay to acclimatise to the altitude and take in the breathtaking views. Their mini-trek peaked at over 3,800m above sea level and there was lots of puffing and panting and stops to catch their breath! The group also encountered their first herd of wild alpacas and stumbled upon a natural slippery slide carved into the ancient rocks.
Sun 19 Apr 2015: Cusco to Llactapata
After an early breakfast the team packed a small amount of clothes and toiletries into their duffle bags. They prepared their day packs with water and snacks and headed off on the Inca trail. The mood was jovial, bubbles of excitement dispersed amongst the group. This was the day they were finally heading off to Machu Picchu!
A bus transported the group to their first stop at Sacred Valley. The view was breathtaking, with the majesty of the Andean Mountains towering above and lush green rolling valleys below, all set against the crystal blue sky.
The next stop was the town of Ollantaytambo. The team stocked up on supplies and were lucky enough to be welcomed into a traditional Incan home where the family live amongst their collection of guinea pigs. The hut was dark, smoky and full of character. In Peru, guinea pigs are eaten at special occasions as a ceremonial tradition. They are prepared weeks before, they are given the best food and well looked after in preparation for the celebration.
The last stop was the start of the Inca Trail! After another fabulous lunchtime banquet the group began their epic journey on foot. After passing through passport control they headed straight up the trail and every few steps brought another mesmerising view.
The group arrived at the first campsite late in the afternoon to a long line of porters ready to greet them. After a gourmet meal of pumpkin soup and steamed trout followed by a hot pineapple dessert and a game of “Two truths and a lie” the team all returned for a well earned sleep.
Mon 20 Apr 2015: Llactapata to Llulluchapampa
Today was the hardest days trekking so far. The Mater Team completed 12km with many “Ups” and not so many “Downs”. The team spirit was strong to help everyone get through some though times.
There were moments of pure delight as the group walked past stunning forest with low lying cloud and most sweeping through the valley whilst the raging river forced its way down the mountain. Words cannot capture the natural beauty of this idyllic land – hummingbirds, elderberry trees, crazily coloured caterpillars and centipedes, beautiful flowers and snow capped mountains make the tough times all worth it.
Tue 21 Apr 2015: Llullucha
After a very early rise, an amazing breakfast omelette the group headed off for the hardest day of trekking yet.
A Mater tradition is to award a team spirit yellow jersey on the days of the trek. Proudly supported by Thomson Adsett, the yellow jersey symbolises team spirit, cause and fundraising. Today the yellow jersey was awarded to Tanya Titman! Tanya was the highest female fundraiser in the group – raising close to $13,000 and is an inspiration to all those around her. Even with four children, a menagerie of pets at home and the responsibilities that come with being Managing Director of Consolid8, she still managed to find the time to complete the Inca Trek for Cancer on behalf of the Mater Foundation. What an amazing achievement!
Wed 22 Apr 2015: The day we see Machu Picchu
It was a restless night for most with llama noises and midnight trekkers keeping the group from sleeping but this would not dampen their spirits. Today was the day they would complete their trek – the day they arrive at Maccu Picchu.
After over 6 hours gruelling up-hill walking, the group were instructed to stop and form a line. The group had reached the Sungate where we would see Maccu Picchu for the first time. After four days of arduous trekking, painful knees, insect bites, wet wipe baths, pouring rain and llama dramas, the realisation hit everyone – They had finally made it! Every single team member felt a great sense of pride and achievement.
It is near impossible to put the experience of Machu Picchu into words. You need to see it to believe it. Like the other wonders of the world, you cannot take your eyes off of it.
The team were relieved to get to the Hotel in Aguas Calientes for a hot shower and a few celebratory drinks. They celebrated in style and enjoyed a fantastic meal and more than a few beverages!
Thu 23 Apr 2015: Machu Picchu to Cusco
Waking up in Aguas Calientes in lovely hotel with the raging river in the background—safe in the knowledge that they had walked the Inca Trail—was quite something. The team were tired yet satisfied, aching but proud. They had done it. Now it was time to explore the ruins and learn more about the Inca culture and Machu Picchu.
It didn’t matter how much time was spent on the site and how many different views they saw it from, their eyes always became fixated on this complex, magnificent structure. This wonderful experience strengthened the bond between the entire team. This was a very special moment shared with special friends that would never be forgotten.
The inspired group hopped on a bus from Ollantaytambo back to Cusco, exhausted from this amazing experience, laughing to the point of delirium.
If you have any questions about Tanya and Jason’s Mater Foundation challenge or would like to donate to this very worthy cause please email firstname.lastname@example.org
To read the full travel blog written by Inspired Adventures click here