‘It was risky, but once I’d been given the green light by my doctor, I started preparing for the greatest expedition of my life.’

Last weekend, I climbed the highest mountain in North Africa so I could raise money for HHUGS. Every year, tourists flock to Mount Toubkal to do exactly the same as I did, but my situation is a little different, because I have a serious heart condition.

Fifty percent of the muscles in my heart aren’t functioning properly, so I’ve had two small tubes, called stents, inserted into my arteries to make it easier for blood to flow around my body. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I was determined to take part in this trek through Morocco so I could help fundraise for families supported by HHUGS.

It was risky, but once I’d been given the green light by my doctor, I started preparing for the greatest expedition of my life. I’d already climbed Mount Snowdon in Wales, but I knew Mount Toubkal would be even better.

Toubkal is the highest mountain peak, not just in Morocco, but in the Arab World. At nearly 14,000 feet, this peak is three times higher than Snowdon. Climbing it was like nothing I’d ever experienced!

Getting to Mount Toubkal

Before we reached the mountain, we stopped in a scenic village called Imlil. Its rural houses were old and full of rustic character, blending in with the brown of the hills behind them. That first night, we stayed in this mountain town at the foot of Toubkal, where we were given hot tea and dinner in preparation for our big trek the following day.

The next part of our journey was a five-hour trek from Imlil to a place known as ‘The Refuge’. We woke up bright and early, said goodbye to the charming town, and left through the green valley towards the mountain.

The challenge felt frighteningly real when we were given a lesson in basic snow survival skills, winter walking, and how to use crampons (a metal device with spikes that you attach to the bottom of your shoes for better grip when it’s snowy or icy).

Finally, I was ready.

Summit Day!

It can take up to 10 hours to climb up Toubkal, but I managed to do it in just under four. From the top, I could see the valleys we’d passed, the Atlantic coast to the west, and the Sahara Desert to the east.

I couldn’t believe I’d made it! It had been the biggest challenge of my life, and there were times I’d thought I wouldn’t get to the end – but my determination to support a cause I truly believe in helped me to keep going.

A Charity Like No Other

The trek took me on an unforgettable adventure across countries and continents, valleys and villages, slopes and summits. Most importantly, it gave me the opportunity to raise vital funds for HHUGS.

The work that HHUGS does is invaluable to our local community. There’s no other charity in the UK that is dedicated to supporting families affected by counter-terror legislation. There’s simply no charity like it, and that’s why HHUGS deserves our support.

Help Me Reach My Target

My fundraising target is £2500, and so far, I’ve raised only £100. I trekked up the Roof of Africa for this wonderful cause, so now I’m asking you to reach new heights by donating generously to my fundraising page.

The proceeds will go towards helping some of the most vulnerable families in the UK. These individuals are our neighbours, and I consider them to be family. Even though I have a heart condition, I felt I had a duty to climb Mount Toubkal to help these families in their time of need.

Now, I’m giving you the opportunity to play an important role too. You can sponsor my trek and donate to my fundraising page here.

If you’re interested in joining the next fundraising challenge, find out more at https://www.hhugs.org.uk/events

-Ahmed Jilani