Date published: 14 March 2022
A Rochdale skin therapist is to trek across the Sahara Desert this month to raise money for skin disease research.
Rebecca Graham is hoping to raise £2,500 for the British Skin Foundation with the five-day trek. She has already raised an impressive £2,089 towards her effort which was originally due to take place in November 2021.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the trip has been rescheduled to begin on 26 March.
The gruelling 100km trek will pass through valleys, gorges, plateaus, sand dunes and oases in Morocco’s forbidding landscape. The challenge starts on the Maider El Kbir plateau, before ascending the Jebel El Mrakib. The final days will be spent trekking along the Tikertouachene River before finishing – and celebrating – in Ouarzazate.
Witnessing clients with eczema so severe they were unable to work, cystic acne that ruined a person’s self-confidence and skin cancer that was caught just in time has had a profound impact on Rebecca over the years.
The British Skin Foundation says 60% of British people currently suffer from – or have suffered from – a skin disease at some point in their lifetime. As many as one in five children are affected by eczema, whilst skin cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer.
Rebecca says she wanted to “do a crazy challenge to raise money for the British Skin Foundation for a while” but “never felt fit enough.”
She began working with a personal trainer in February 2020, losing four stone in the process, going on to complete four or five intense training sessions a week, including weight training, boxing-inspired workout sessions, cardio and walking.
Rebecca said: “The reason I have decided to take part in this particular challenge is to really push myself, my fitness and stamina. I have worked in the beauty industry for over 15 years and I have seen hundreds of people with life-changing skin diseases, including skin cancer.
“Supporting these people over the years has inspired me to raise money for the British Skin Foundation to help find treatments and cures for all different types of skin conditions.”
Donations can be made via Rebecca’s JustGiving page.