Jola Adventures in the Arctic for Cancer Research

“My name is Jola, and I have a huge taste for adventure. In the past, this has led me to climb mountains and cycle extreme distances, but to fundraise for ACRF I decided on something a little different: hiking in sub-arctic conditions through Iceland, Norway and Greenland.

Last year, I lost a beautiful friend Michelle to cancer. After her passing, I had one enduring thought that I could not shake: that I could be next.

How is it possible to beat this terrible disease that so many people are affected by? When you lose so many people to this terrible disease, cancer takes on a personal quality. As a scientist, what made sense to me was focusing on raising money for cancer research, with the dream that one day a world without cancer would be possible.

This was the decision that lead me to my life-changing arctic adventure.

Did I mention that I do not like the cold at all, that I’m scared of heights, and that I’ve never even walked with crampons before? Sub-arctic temperatures are no joke – with conditions averaging around -6 degrees Celsius, the icy winds relentlessly beat at you, and your hands and toes start to freeze. It takes so much energy just to function, not to mention what it takes to push yourself physically and mentally through challenges.

But, with my goal in mind, I hiked land and glaciers, scrambling along the uneven frozen terrain. I tried my hand (literally) at ice climbing, scaling frozen glaciers at 700m altitude. I kayaked in between icebergs and even snorkelled through freezing, dark water. Although challenging doesn’t even begin to cover how this felt, in the end, I pushed myself completely out of my comfort zone. It was amazing.

Despite all the physical and emotional challenges that were brought before me, I carried with me a sense of drive that was seeded in all those who were trusting me to complete this trip. I was proud to feel like what I was doing was more important than the immediate challenges before me – it was something important for everyone. And in the end, I felt like a superhero.

 ACRF has one singular goal: To outsmart cancer. By providing the brightest minds in Australia the tools they need to make ground-breaking research discoveries, we believe this is possible. Please, donate today to support people like Jola and their immense contribution to moving forward into a cancer-free world.