A Derry woman who, along with her family, has raised over £40,000 for charity, has just completed a fundraising trek in Cambodia - six months after having a hip replacement.
Intrepid Diana Parker first began her journey of adventure and fundraising after losing her sister Rosamunde to cancer in 1999 and later her brother-in-law in 2006.
Diana, Ward Sister in the Stroke unit at Altnagelvin Hospital, has since completed a number of endeavours across the world, many of which are reflective of her love of hill-walking.
She told the Journal how she is ‘on the hills as often as time allows’ along with her husband.
But hills aren’t the only heights she tackles, as her first fundraiser was an abseil down the BT Tower on Queen’s Quay with her brother-in-law, which raised £600 for cancer research.
Bitten by the fundraising bug, in 2010 Diana decided to fundraise for Action Cancer in memory of family members who had died from the disease. Her eldest son, Philip, joined her on the trek through Cuba, before which they had also raised £3,400 through cake sales, raffles and sponsorships. In 2012, Diana pledged to raise £6,000 for Action Cancer by doing a trek through North Vietnam with her youngest son, Simon. They fundraised £6,800 for the trek, again through cake sales and raffles, as well as a sponsored walk by Lisneal College pupils up Muckish Mountain.
Diana was joined by both of her sons in 2015 on a trek in Thailand. This fundraiser was hugely successful and a mammoth £10,200 was collected via sponsored spinathons, more cakes sales, raffles and sponsorships, as well as bucket collections.
In May 2018, Diana decided to take to the skies and, accompanied by Phillip, completed a tandem parachute jump at the Wild Geese Centre Garvagh, for the Alzheimer’s Society and raised £800 .
Diana told how, as a sister in the Stroke Unit, she saw first-hand ‘the help and support chest Heart and Stroke made to stroke survivors and their families, so I decided to fund raise for them.’
It was agreed that any money raised would stay in the North West area and help local people. A trek to Peru, ‘the hardest yet,’ was organised with Earth’s Edge in Dublin and raised £10,800.
In January this year, Diana underwent a total hip replacement and has ‘rehabilitated very well’ with the help of the excellent physiotherapists in the Ulster Independent Clinic.
Ten weeks post surgery, she was back on the hills and itching to go on another trek.
After getting the go-ahead from her surgeon, she trekked Cambodia in 34/35 degree heat last month to raise funds for the Alzheimer’s Society. The trek was 94km over five days, with camping out at night, Her £5,000 target has almost been met.
She loved the experience and met many ‘wonderful’ Cambodian people. To date, Diana and her family have raised £43,800 for various charities and have been delighted to be able to help some extremely worthy causes. She told the Journal she has no intention of putting her feet up ahead of her 60th birthday, and to mark the big occasion she is planning a wing walk in Cheltenham with Philip for an yet undecided charity.