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Suffolk woman heads for epic trek

PUBLISHED: 00:00 17 October 2001 | UPDATED: 10:40 03 March 2010

TREKKING more than 100km through the Guatemalan highlands is not everyone's idea of fun.

But it is one challenge Grundisburgh woman Donna Lancaster is determined to achieve.

TREKKING more than 100km through the Guatemalan highlands is not everyone's idea of fun.

But it is one challenge Grundisburgh woman Donna Lancaster is determined to achieve.

The 34-year-old mother of two has spent much of her career as a social worker, helping young people whose lives have been tormented by mental illness.

So the chance to raise money for leading mental health charity, Mind, by trekking 111km over volcanoes and the Maya Highlands, was too good to pass up.

Donna is already training hard for the demanding journey and is also working just as hard to raise the £2,500 needed to send her on the trip.

So far, with the help of her two daughters, Gemma 16 and Lucy 14, Donna has raised £700, but needs the rest of the money by the end of November.

She said: "I am determined to raise the money.

"I am a very stubborn person and will do anything to get it."

Donna's unerring passion to go on the trek and help the Mind charity stems from both personal and professional experience.

Members of her family have suffered from depression and her life was affected by dealing with youngsters while she was working at the Ipswich Youth Advice Centre.

She said: "We were regularly getting calls from young girls around 16 or 17 years old who were attempting suicide because they just could not cope.

"It often very difficult for people to admit that they have problems and Mind is trying to break those taboos."

According to statistics released by Mind, one in four people suffer from some form of mental distress at some point in their lives and every year 100,000 people attempt suicide.

Donna said: "Mind run a helpline for people in crisis.

"I have seen in my own family that it can be a life-saver."

At the moment, Donna from Stoney Road, Grundisburgh is working for Essex Family Group Conference Service.

In between work she is fitting in a hectic training schedule in a bid to get her fitness level up to scratch for the trip in February.

She said: "One of the requirements is that you can walk at least 20 miles a day back to back.

"I have joined a gym and I am taking my dog out walking and trying to do about four or five miles a day.

"I have never been so fit in my life."

Anyone who wants to sponsor Donna and help her raise money for Mind should call her on 01473 735593.

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