Kuldip Chagger, a surgical matron in breast and urology at our Trust, is walking 100 kilometres with her best friend Bini Patel to raise money for the King George and Queen’s Hospital Charity.
Next month, Kuldip and Bini will trek from Richmond-upon-Thames to Brighton racecourse in aid of our charity, as part of the London 2 Brighton challenge.
Kuldip, who lives in Grays, said: “Bini is my friend of 35 years, we met when we were at primary school and we’re still best friends.
“Exercise has really helped me during lockdown and we’ve been doing lots of walking together when restrictions allowed.
“An advert came up on Facebook about the London 2 Brighton challenge, so I messaged Bini and asked if she wanted to do it. At first, she was a bit hesitant but I sold it to her by saying she’d get to spend two days with me, it’s just our time together with no children around!
“She was like ‘yeah, I’m definitely in’ and we signed up the next day.”
The pair, both 42-years-old, have been building up the distance they walk and it has helped them spend some time together during the winter lockdown, with government guidelines at the time meaning two people could only meet outdoors and for exercise.
It means their relationship has been different compared to before the pandemic, when this picture was taken. But Kuldip has found it positive for her mental and physical health.
“This wouldn’t have happened if it wasn’t for the pandemic and lockdown,” Kuldip said. “Everyone’s usually so busy; I don’t think I’d have had the time to be exercising like I have but, with lockdown and nothing else to do, we’ve been out there marching together in rain, snow, and all weather, it’s been brilliant.
“Walking has helped my mental wellbeing so much and that’s what got me into it; being a matron can be really stressful and this past year, seeing some of the things I had to see, I was going home really emotional.
“Before I started walking with Bini, my husband was going out with me to get some air and all the way through it’s really helped me mentally.”
The London 2 Brighton challenge takes place on Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 May.
Bini, of Hornchurch, is also raising funds for our charity.
When asked if they had any plans for the money raised and what they’d like it to be spent on, Kuldip said: “We haven’t got anything in mind right now, just something to help patient experience. I’m sure over time we’ll think of something specific.”
You can visit Kuldip’s fundraising page here.