You might recall an earlier blog from last year which featured Andrejs Blakunovs (November 2015 Graduate).
During his time at university; he did a lot of volunteering.
We catch up with Andrejs six months on to learn of a challenge that he has set himself for charity.
Most people would choose to spend their summer vacation relaxing by a pool and making the most of the sunshine, but not Andrejs Blakunovs, the Wyken resident is planning to climb a mountain in Russia where the temperature is minus ten degrees!
The reason he is doing it is to support The Anthony Nolan Trust, the chosen charity supported by his employers at the Caludon Castle Sports Centre, which is part of the Parkwood Leisure Group.
Andrejs, who is originally from Latvia, graduated from Coventry University last year with a degree in sports management. He is now a marketing assistant at the sports centre where he encourages people to become more active and adopt a healthier lifestyle.
“My colleagues at work think I am mad for opting to climb a mountain rather than have a relaxing break” said Andrejs.
The mountain in question is Mount Elbrus, the highest mountain in Europe, and the tenth most prominent peak in the world. Elbrus not only forms part of the Caucasus Mountains in Southern Russia, near the border with Georgia, but it is also a dormant volcano.
“I am joining a group of people in climbing the mountain and will be flying out in July. It will take three and a half days to climb it and three and a half to come down again. I am really looking forward to the challenge and thought that it would be nice to try and get sponsored, so I could raise some money for charity at the same time.”
Andrejs is championing a sports and active lifestyle and during his time as a student at Coventry University he used to volunteer giving football coaching sessions to local school children. He was also a team leader for the Coventry ambassador programme during the 2012 Olympics.
Andrejs is a keen athlete and was a semi-pro in Latvia; winning the 2011 Latvian Junior Championships in athletics. He also ran the Paris marathon a couple of years ago.
Although going up Mount Elbrus is a daunting challenge, he actually decided to do it after a recent trip to Norway when he got the opportunity to do some long hiking. He will also be tackling Snowdonia in Wales just before he sets off to Russia.
The added push to climb Elbrus for Andrejs was watching the film ‘Everest’ which gave him the inspiration to take on the challenge.
When Andrejs gets back to Coventry after his mammoth climb, he will be continuing with his volunteering activities and doing some more fundraising at work as will be organising an aquathlon (swimming and running) event in August with all the profits going to charity.
“I am still trying to volunteer in my spare time as I am a firm believer in helping others. I am so fortunate to be working for a sports organisation in my adopted city of Coventry. I had such a wonderful time here as a student, so much so, that I want to give something back to the place I now call home.”
If you would like to sponsor Andrejs on this climb of Mount Elbrus, you can do so by clicking here and it will take you to his fundraising page.
The photograph attached is Andrejs hiking in Norway.
Written by Ali Bushnell
Edited by Esmé Spurling