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Laura Parkes, Director

Adventuring in support of autism: A Q&A with Director, Laura Parkes

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31 January 2024
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In this interview we sit down with Director, Laura Parkes, also appropriately named ‘Laura the Explorer’ as she shares insights into her journey – a challenging trek to raise funds and awareness for Autism Jersey.

Discover Laura’s motivation, the preparation involved and learn how you can get involved and support her fundraising efforts.

Tell us about the challenge you’re undertaking for Autism Jersey?

Having completed an Autism Jersey trek in 2017, to the summit of Mount Toubkal in the High Atlas Mountains, it is time for a new challenge. I will be joining a group of fellow #awesomeforautism trekkers over tough terrain, within an unforgiving climate, for five full days to and from the remote Lost City in Colombia to raise money for this fantastic charity.

To reach the 1200 ancient stone steps that lead up to the City, we will trek on steep, sometimes overgrown, and muddy trails, through lush jungle and river valleys, crossing clear streams. En route we pass indigenous Kogui communities and descendants of those early builders.

Why is the charity so special to you?

Autism Jersey holds a place in my heart, and I am a passionate supporter of their work. Their community spirit and drive to help support people on the autism spectrum and their families on a day-to-day basis is something truly special. Established in 2005 by a group of dedicated and committed parents, Autism Jersey is now the leading charity in Jersey having secure and well-developed expertise in the provision of autism-related services. They enable people on the autism spectrum to achieve their potential by advocating an inclusive community and providing personalised services to individuals, families, and carers.

How do you prepare for such a demanding trek?

Suffering arthritis in both knees, I don’t find these adventures or training for them easy they test me both physically and mentally. With the support of my friends and family, who join me on training treks and motivate me to keep going, I’m growing stronger each day. Since September I’ve clocked up 446km, 683k steps and 27 gym strength sessions. With only two months left I’ve increased the weekly training to include two back-to-back weekend walks consisting of at least 2-5 hours each day, a 800-1,000 step up session every Friday morning and an all-important stretch day to keep mobility.

How can others support you with this endeavour?

People’s support means everything to me, and to the incredible volunteers at Autism Jersey who are making a difference every single day. Whether it’s sharing my journey, contributing to fundraising efforts or simply spreading awareness about Autism Jersey, it all counts, and is enormously appreciated.

I would also like to thank Crestbridge Family Office Services for their donation and support.

You can donate at Fundraising for Autism Jersey. I’m funding my own trek myself, so every penny goes straight to the charity.

We wish Laura all the very best with this challenge and we will be following her journey along the way.