AN army officer has raised £5,000 by trekking Mount Everest to give back to the armed forces charity which helped him adopt his two children.
Andy Wilson and his wife Stacey decided they wanted to raise money and awareness for the brilliant work SSAFA does before they settled down after Andy’s 23 years service in the army.
The couple married in 2009, but after finding out they could not have children naturally they ventured on a long and often complicated journey of adoption. SSAFA helped the couple finally bring their son Aaron home in 2013 and their daughter Ruby in 2015.
Andy and Danny Rogers, Ruby’s godfather, wanted to trek to Everest base camp to raise crucial funds for SSAFA and promote their fantastic adoption work.
Andy raised a total of £5,000. He had already raised £2,400 when SSAFA wanted to create a video of Andy and Stacey’s adoption journey for National Adoption Week. Virgin Radio’s Chris Evans heard the story and immediately increased the total to £5,000.
When the video was originally aired, many of Andy’s friends did not know that SSAFA supported adoption.
Andy said: ‘The support they always give to the Forces is amazing.
‘It is always nice to give something back.’
The pair landed in Nepal on October 1 and returned to the UK on the 18th. Andy explained that the community of families he met in Nepal were completely welcoming and it reiterated what his family went through.
He said: ‘Not being able to share that experience with my family back here, that hit me on summit day when we got to Everest base camp.
‘I wanted my little boy with me, I wanted my family to experience what I had just been through.’
Giving advice to anyone thinking of adoption, Andy said: ‘You have to brutally honest with yourselves.
‘Be prepared for the highs and the lows, it really is an emotional rollercoaster.’
He would like to give a special thanks to Omega Hockey for sponsoring the clothing used on the trip and to his wife Stacey for caring for everyone at home while he was away.
Andy is already planning another trip to Everest but this time with his family.
SSAFA – the armed forces charity, formerly known as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association – is a UK charity that provides lifelong support to serving men and women and veterans from the British armed forces and their families or dependents.