Sharon Cairns, from Ramsgate, prepares to say goodbye to golden retriever Dexter to go husky sledding.
Sharon Cairns, 43, of Nethercourt Hill, is setting off on Saturday to go husky sledding in the Arctic Circle to raise money for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Pilgrims Hospice.
Clinical audit manager Sharon, who works at the Northdown Surgery in Cliftonville, has funded the trip herself so that every penny raised through sponsorship will go to her causes.
She will have her mum Rosemarie Knight in mind as her trusty huskies drag her across 250km of frozen land in northern Sweden on a four-day marathon.
Rosemarie Knight is pictured fit and well with husband Adrian at the birth of her first grandson Jonah in 2003. Three years later, Rosemarie was dead, aged just 58, after a two year battle with motor neurone disease which struck without warning. She is the reason daughter Sharon Cairns, from Ramsgate, is doing a husky marathon to raise funds for the Motor Neurone Disease Association and the Pilgrims Hospice in Margate, where her mum died
Rosemarie died in 2006 aged 58 after two years of struggling with the incurable disease.
Sharon said: “When mum became ill with MND it was a real kick in the stomach for our family. No one had ever had it before in the family, it can be hereditary, but in mum’s case it was not.
“In two years she went from being an active woman to not being able to do anything at all for herself. She was a fun, strong lady who would do anything for anybody.”
“MND can affect anybody, it is a really awful debilitating disease that can attack people even younger than mum was.”
Sharon said that she decided to realise her lifelong dream of going dog sledding, an extension of a passion she and husband Mick share for snow and mountains. They are both keen skiers and dog lovers, sharing their home with golden retriever Dexter.
Snow lover Sharon Cairns is going on a husky sledding charity expedition to raise money in memory of her mother Rosemarie. She is pictured at home in Ramsgate with husband Mick and dog Dexter.
The trip will take place about 145km north of the Arctic Circle, with temperatures plummeting as low as minus 40.
Sharon knows conditions will be extremely basic. There will be no electricity and no running water. She will be part of a group of eight and have her own team of huskies to look after – from cooking their food to clearing up after them.
They sleep one night in the wilderness in a teepee, traditional to native Laplanders. Other accommodation will be in cabins.
Sharon has had to invest in high performance clothes and equipment to cope with the extreme conditions. She anticipates eating reindeer.
“I am not looking forward to not washing my hair for four days and hope I am fit enough for the few stretches where we have to get off our sleds and run alongside,” she said.
“I anticipate it will be very exhilarating and am hoping that we will be able to see the Northern Lights.”
The Thanet Extra will be catching up with Sharon when she returns to find out how she got on. You can sponsor her online at: http://justgiving.com/Sharon-Cairns1 or by post or in person at the Northdown Surgery, St Anthonys Way, Cliftonville.