As a tribute to her late father, as well as a personal challenge to herself, 42-year-old Linda Keiser from Benoni recently completed the grueling 10-day, 256km, Tankwa Camino endurance hike through the Karoo and in doing so, also raised R20 000 for Stepping Stone Hospice.
Saturday, April 8, 2017 marked a year since Linda lost her dad, Colin (63), to brain cancer. He spent the last days of his life at Stepping Stone Hospice’s In-Patient Unit in New Market Park. “This was my way of thanking the beautiful, selfless people at Stepping Stone Hospice for caring for my dad and helping him pass with dignity,” she said.
The community at large responded by donating money to Linda’s cause before she even set off on the hike on the 31st of March, with a steady stream of contributions coming in while she was on the road and even after she completed the challenge on the 9th of April. At the time of going to press, contributions hit the R20 000 mark, and Linda couldn’t be happier.
“I am so overwhelmed and deeply grateful for all the people who supported me in my efforts to raise money for Stepping Stone Hospice,” said an emotional Linda. “The Tankwa Camino was tough – much tougher than I imagined it would be, but giving up wasn’t an option. I had to dig deep and simply put one foot in front of the other. The Karoo is a desolate place, but it is also intensely beautiful.”
“There’s plenty of time to reflect when all you have in front of you is one long, dusty, seemingly never-ending road,” Linda says. “I learnt a lot about myself and I cried for my dad every day. The last four days of the hike were especially trying and extremely painful for me. I literally hobbled into Ceres on the last day and left with a great sense of achievement. This journey made me realize that we really can do anything we set our minds to.”
Said Stepping Stone CEO, Tersia Burger: “We are so excited and grateful to Linda for what she has accomplished. Whenever there is loss, there’s a lot of healing that needs to take place, and Linda has honoured her father’s memory with an action that also brought about healing for her. I think he would be so proud of her. We certainly are.”