By Frank Synek
My name is Frank and I am planning a one of a kind challenge in the effort to raise money for Reverse Rett and Meningitis Now, both charities are very close to my heart. My aim is to travel to the Arctic circle and attempt to spend a month alone in the wilderness using only survival skills to survive. During the four weeks I will be in the Arctic, I will be trying to follow a trail, building my own shelter from raw materials as I go and hunt/fish for food while gathering my own water. All I will have with me is a good set of clothes, shoes, sleeping bag and the essentials to survive such as fire-starting equipment and a compass etc.
I have chosen two charities because both have had their own impact on me in different ways. Meningitis sadly took a good friend of mine called Tom and was taken without warning overnight after going to sleep with what was thought to be at the time just a normal headache. Although Meningitis is more well known than my other chosen charity (Reverse Rett) it goes without saying it has and always will be a charity close to my heart. Reverse Rett however, was a more recent discovery. I learnt about its devastating effects while working at a pub called The Beer Seller in Tonbridge, Kent. For those that aren’t sure, Rett Syndrome is a neurological condition which most often strikes previously healthy little girls and a much fewer number of boys between their first and second birthday, leaving them with multiple disabilities and medical complexities for life. The instigator for me choosing Reverse Rett as a chosen charity was an amazing, brave little girl called Elsie. Elsie is daughter to loving parents Neil and Kate who come into the pub and I have got to know over the past year. I always remember the day I saw Elsie and how she had the most angelic face and how instantly I was drawn to her smile. Despite Elsie’s condition, she is inspiring and tries her best at everything she does while always being full of energy. I couldn’t help but feel an instant love for Elsie and my decision was easy to raise funds for Reverse Rett alongside Meningitis Now.
Admittedly I have only recently heard of Rett, but I was sad to learn that Rett is not well heard of in general and feel it should receive more exposure so hopefully I can spread the word more through my Arctic challenge.
This challenge certainly has its dangers and there is every possibility I may not make it back and if I do, there is a chance it could have permanent affects to my body. Obviously, I am hoping for the best outcome, but I am by no means ignoring the dangers I could face. I am still finalising how I am going to approach the challenge, but whatever happens, the date is set, and I am more determined than ever to see this challenge through. Previous challenges I have done include walking from Lands’ End to John O’ Groats, solo in 33 days, with no food or tent and reaching Everest Base Camp.
This is certainly the biggest challenge I have taken on in my lifetime and could possibly be the last. The dangers speak for themselves on this journey so in order to at least prepare me a little I have paid to put myself onto a survival course based also near the arctic circle which lasts around 9 days. I will learn the basics of survival in conditions and scenarios I am likely to face. In the end it is just a 9 day survival course and I am aware that doing just this course by no means qualifies me to venture off alone for a month into the Arctic wilderness but every little helps.
I would describe myself as a bit of a risk taker but a focused one who enjoys taking on the unknown. For the past few years I have been on a road of self-discovery and taking on challenges like this helps me in my own personal goals and raise money for charity. I don’t know what my limits are, but I intend to see how far they can go on this challenge.
I intend to document what I am doing all the way up until the challenge and while I am away in the Arctic. Due to the nature of the challenge I will not be able to keep people updated on social media etc so there will be a month of silence from me until my hopeful completion. I will then share my experiences, and I will make sure I hold no details back! So please support me on my journey and fighting back against Rett and Meningitis!