I first moved into a Mencap supported living facility when I was 26 years old.
I was suffering with mental health conditions as well as severe epilepsy. At the time I was obese and would rarely leave my room. This was due to anxiety from my autism. I found it difficult to communicate with people and my life was full of fear.
However, the Mencap staff set up a support plan to help me tackle these problems. This was especially useful in helping me to deal with the news that I needed brain surgery to help control my epilepsy. I was very worried, but, thanks to the right support, I managed to keep my anxiety at bay and had the surgery.
Over the years Mencap have come up with was for me to improve my health. Just before my surgery, staff spoke to me about joining Weight Watchers, which I agreed to. I then lost 10 stone in 2 years which I was thrilled with as I never thought I could achieve it.
Mencap also supported me to do some special activities in order to build my confidence. I met up with other tenants, visited different places and took part in some talking therapy. This helped my fear to go away, and now, after 5 years, I am a member of my local gym and I go out regularly. I also have the confidence to take part in events and challenges; like the Snowdon Trek that I took part in on 19 August 2016.
My aim was to raise money for Mencap, as they have helped to support me and improve my life.
I took part in the trek with my support worker Shaun, his wife, Helen and their children Alma and Seb.
The journey up
The night before the trek we went to see the mountain, and I was astonished by how high it was!
At 8am the following morning we got everything packed and ready, and made sure we had all the appropriate gear. When I went to pay Brian, the owner of the B&B we were staying in he gave me £10 off my bill and said "Here Lorna, take £10 off me as sponsorship money". I was gobsmacked and thanked him loads!
We arrived in Llanberis, at the foot of Snowdon, at about 10:20am on the day of the trek to begin the climb.
Helen and the kids did really well, they got just past halfway, which I was amazed at because of their little legs. Shaun and I kept going after having a drink at the halfway point. The views were amazing and Shaun was very surprised at how far I'd got up without needing a rest.
About three quarters of the way up, there was a very steep part which wore me out, so I made sure I stopped regularly for short rests after that.
Towards the top was the hardest part of all, once we were above the clouds as it was steep and there was rocks to climb around.
But, I finally reached the top. I was gobsmacked that I'd managed to get all the way to the top on my first go! Shaun was amazed too. It took us 2 hours and 20 minutes to get to the top. After a short break and a trip to the shop to get some souvenirs - I got some t-shirts, a magnet and a badge - we began the journey back down.
The journey down
It started raining so I had to be careful of where I stepped, and I could feel my feet aching from how much I'd done so far. But we got back to the bottom, a lot quicker than the journey to the top. Shaun was startled at how quick I was, and pleased at how careful I was on the steepest parts.
When we got back to the bottom we went to get a drink to celebrate and got in touch with our families to let them know that we had made it!
After our drink we met Helen, Seb and Alba, and started the drive home. When I was dropped off at home it was about 9:20pm, I was completely exhausted so showered and went straight to bed.
After the trek
On 25 November 2016 I was invited to Mencap's office in London so I could meet the Events Team and hand over my sponsorship money.
Upon arrival I was met by Amy, who works in the Events Team, she took me on a tour around the building so I could meet some of the other people that she works with. I had a really nice time and was congratulated by lots of people.
I had lots of fun and even got to have my photo taken.
I feel that if it were not for Mencap my life would not be as good as it is now and I would have definitely struggled through life. If you want the right support at a high standard to beat illnesses and tackle life then get support from Mencap, the best care provider ever!
Find out more
Do you think you could take on the challenge to Trek Snowdon? Find out more and sign up here.
Or, there are plenty of other ways you can get involved to support Mencap. Take a look at some of our other events here.
If Lorna's story has inspired you, why not sign up for the 2018 Snowdon Trek?