Meningitis Now staff member Andy Hopkinson

Fighting meningitis on the world’s toughest challenge

Andy Hopkinson | 18th February 2020

A south-west mum is leading the first British women’s team in one of the world’s toughest expedition challenges next month, to help fight back against deadly meningitis

Fundraising mountain challenge

Josephine Bush, from Brockley, Bristol, is taking on the Asnes Expedition Amundsen race in the footsteps of legendary Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen to raise money for the Bristol-based charity ‘a Life for a Cure’.

This was set up by Michelle Bresnahan and her family following the death of her son Ryan from meningitis in 2010, aged just 16. Since then it’s worked closely with us, raising over £500,000 for research to help eradicate the disease and to support our lifesaving and life-changing work. 

Josephine will be joined for the challenge by her sister Roisin Ward and good friend Linda Johnston Rohbasser. It will see them race 100km over three days across the Hardangervidda Plateau in Norway, pulling a 40kg pulk, night and day with no sleep and facing temperatures up to -40.

Fundraising mountain challenge

First British female team

Josephine, a tax expert with EY LLP, said: “We will be the first British female team to do this challenge.

“We have been training hard for over a year for this, including pulling tyres with weights, with a huge amount of planning and time to make it happen.

“We hope to complete it in between 40 and 50 hours.

Josephine added: “We may not be Scott of the Antarctic, but we are up for taking on the Norwegians!”

Dangerous and wild

The scale of the challenge facing the trio and the other entrants is summed up on the event organiser’s website, which states: “Asnes Expedition Amundsen is an expedition race like no other. Solo or part of a team, this is a tough challenge. You will not see a lot of people.

“The Hardangervidda mountain plateau in February/March could appear beautiful and idyllic, but can quickly become dangerous and wild.”

Around 150 people – in individual or team class sections – will be taking part in the challenge, which will start on February 27 and needs to be completed within a 60-hour deadline.

Fundraising mountain challenge

Personal and collective challenge

Josephine added: “This will be a massive personal and collective challenge for all of us, but we have trained and prepared well. We are determined to succeed and appreciate the support that our families and friends have given us. 

“We hope people will support the good causes we are raising money for.”

Josephine chose ‘a Life for a Cure’ because her goddaughter Tilly was a friend of Ryan’s.

“It is incredible how Michelle has turned the worst possible tragedy into something positive,” she added. “No life should be lost to this disease and I hope in some small way to help the charity and honour Ryan’s memory through this event.”

To support Josephine, who has already raised over £1,800, visit her fundraising page here

Fundraising mountain challenge

Grateful for support

Michelle Bresnahan said: “Good luck to Josephine and her fellow team members as they take on this daunting challenge. Everyone at ‘a Life for a Cure’ and Meningitis Now is grateful for her wonderful support. I’m sure Ryan would be proud of what she’s doing in his name.”

Read more about ‘A Life for a Cure’ here and here.

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