A MUM who has completed three tours of Afghanistan is facing her next challenge with a climb up Africa’s highest mountain.
Helen Cahill is a survival equipment officer with the RAF, ensuring her forces colleagues are kept safe as they face conflict and carry out regular duties.
Now the 39-year-old from Seaham is preparing to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to raise money for a cancer charities.
The 10-day trek will raise funds for Marie Curie and St Oswald’s Hospice in Newcastle to benefit from her efforts.
Helen, who is married to Dan, 35, and mum to Jack, 10, William, seven, and twins Harriet and Iris, four, said: “I heard about it and thought I’m coming up to 40, I want to do something worthwhile for a good charity.
“Cancer touches every family and Marie Curie is the sort of charity which helps all, so I decided to just go for it.
“The fund-raising is the hard part so as long as I get that together by mid-March, it’ll be fine.
“I’ve done three tours of Afghanistan and that’s tough enough, leaving your family for four months, and I spent six weeks in Kenya over Christmas with my job, and there was no communication unless you were in the compound and that was hard, not speaking to anybody.
“But I think this is more a mental challenge.
“When you’re in Afghanistan, you know your job. This is going to be a challenge in other ways.”
Helen is fitting in training treks in the Lake District in between work at RAF Dishforth, North Yorkshire, and duties as a mum.
The trek will take place from May 29, with day they reach the summit set to be a 16-hour walk.
A minimum of £3,950 must be raised before then, with Helen hosting a night of entertainment as part of her campaign to collect as much cash as possible.
The event will be held at The Knack Club in Eastlea Road, Seaham, on Saturday, February 1, from 7pm and will include live music by buskers, a band and karaoke.
Entry is free, with raffle prizes to include donations by businesses in the town.