A COVENTRY woman is preparing to climb Kilimanjaro to raise vital funds for Zoë’s Place Baby Hospice in memory of her sister, who was born prematurely.
Feride Seferaj, known to friends as ‘Fred’, will scale Africa’s highest mountain in the hopes of fundraising £3,600 for the beloved hospice which provides respite and end-of-life care to sick babies and young children.
The 27-year-old graphic designer, who lives in Hillfields, was inspired to take on the challenge after visiting the charity’s Coventry hospice.
Fred said: ” I first heard of Zoë’s Place last summer while organising another trip to Snowdon with my work colleagues.
“We raised a massive £1,606.74 and were shown around the hospice after the climb.
“Seeing first-hand the amazing work of Zoë’s Place really gave me the drive to do it all again – and I signed up for Kilimanjaro straight away.”
But the cause is particularly close to home for Fred, who grew up in Albania.
Seeing the sick youngsters, Fred was reminded of her sister who was born prematurely 18 years ago but was sadly unable to survive without medical assistance.
And without the necessary healthcare support, her parent’s were forced to make the difficult decision to turn off their daughter’s life-support.
“She was still born but they tried reviving her and kept her alive for about 48 hours with a life support machine,” Fred told the Observer.
“My father spent those two days on a wild goose chase for ‘medication’ until it was explained to them both that she wouldn’t be able to survive without the machine and if she somehow miraculously did, she would be severely disabled.
“As this was while we were still living in Albania, she would not have had a great quality of life – there is no support whatsoever for anyone with simple disabilities let alone sever ones over there.
“After that they both decided it was for the best to let her go in peace.”
Now in her memory and in support of the children at Zoë’s Place, Fred is dedicating all her free time to preparing for her assent.
Not only has she spent her evenings after work pounding the city pavements and attending exercise classes, she has also been practising her climbing skills scaling Snowdon twice and England’s highest point – Scafell Pike in the Lake District – accompanied by friends.
To help her reach her fundraising target, Fred has already cycled 90km on a static bike and in a shopping centre and raised money on online auction website eBay.
Now she is urging kind-hearted Coventrians to spare any change they can to donate towards her cause before she starts her six-day climb up Mount Kilimanjaro on Thursday, October 6.
Visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/freddoeskili to donate and to read her latest training updates.