Animal lover takes on Everest challenge
This year marks not only Ren Shilcock's 21st birthday but also 15 years of being in remission from cancer. So to celebrate, Ren has decided to take on our bespoke Everest base camp challenge.
Ren, from Northolt in Ealing, London, has always been an animal lover which is why she'll take on the epic challenge to raise vital funds for animals in need.
The 20-year-old has decided to take part in the 18-day Everest Base Camp Trek Challenge this year to celebrate her life and look to the future. Of course, fighting for the animals who need her help too!
Ren's recovery story
Just a week before Ren's fourth birthday she was diagnosed with a Wilms' tumour, a rare form of kidney cancer which most often affects children under seven years old. Only 70 - 80 children are diagnosed with this a year in the UK.
Ren spent more than a year in and out of hospital undergoing treatment, including chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Thankfully, the treatment was successful and 2019 will mean that she's been free from cancer for 15 years. This should now be the last year of annual hospital check-ups for Ren, and the first time she can truly look to the future and embrace it.
I wanted to do something to celebrate my life and that has been the driving force behind signing up for the Everest challenge. I don't have anything to be scared of now so I know I can do this - it's a fairly terrifying but exciting challenge.
Ren's goal is to raise £5,000 to help the animals in our care
Ren is no stranger to fundraising for charity - to mark 10 years of remission from cancer, Ren shaved off all her hair and raised a total of £5,000 for children's charity CLIC Sargent.
Now, Ren's goal is to raise £5,000 for us to help our team of animal lovers continue to rescue, rehabilitate and rehome animals in desperate need of care, by completing one of our overseas challenges.
Altogether, it's hoped the RSPCA Expawdition will raise £50,000 to help animals. To support Ren's challenge and raise funds to help the animals in our care visit her JustGiving page today.
This challenge will be extremely tough...
Starting in the Nepalese town of Lukla, Ren and the team will take on an expedition which winds higher and higher in the Himalayas, through forests, gorges, rivers and icefalls. The high altitude of Everest Base Camp is likely to have a huge effect on the trekkers and coupled with sub-zero temperatures the challenge will be extremely tough.
It's a round trip of 80 miles so it's definitely going to be tough. I'll have limited access to showers or communication with the rest of the world. Plus, I'll be trying not to think about the threat of altitude sickness!
I can't wait to be able to look back on this and say 'Yes, I really did that!'
Ren has a close connection to our work
Our animal welfare work plays a large part in Ren's life as she recently started as the first apprentice campaigns officer at our headquarters in Southwater, Sussex.
Ren studied a course in animal management at college and volunteered as a dog walker at our Hillingdon branch before starting the apprenticeship in September, last year. She said:
When I saw the job, I couldn't believe it as it seemed perfect. The opportunity to learn and work for the UK's largest animal welfare charity doesn't come up every day. Today, I'm lucky enough to have landed my dream job working at the RSPCA HQ, helping to campaign and give animals a much-needed voice.
So far Ren has campaigned for stricter firework regulations, better welfare for chickens, and is soon to be launching the #EndSkyLitter campaign which aims to restrict the release of sky lanterns and balloons.
Inspired to take on a challenge?
If Ren's story has inspred you to take on a challenge why not take a look at our challenging charity fundraising events? As well as overseas challenges such as the Everest Base Camp challenge we also offer a variety of treks, swims, cycles and runs. What will you sign up for?