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Sharing life lessons from the top of the world

January 16, 2020
Guide Dogs Board member Katie Sarah posing with her arms up at the top of Mount Denali.

On Saturday 11 January, more than 20 carers and family members of Guide Dogs clients joined our Allied Health team at Stamford Plaza Adelaide for our first Carers’ Retreat of 2020.

When you’re caring for someone else it’s common to put your own needs last, so this retreat is the perfect opportunity for carers to connect, share experiences and focus on their own health and wellbeing.

Carers were welcomed by Guide Dogs Chief Executive Officer, Aaron Chia, who told the group that he is constantly inspired by the courage and resilience of our clients and their families.

Aaron also introduced guest speaker, Katie Sarah, who is best known as the first woman (and one of only nine people in recorded history) to scale the highest mountains on all seven continents, as well as the seven highest volcanic peaks. This achievement is known as the ‘Seven-seven’.

Katie is the Director of Sarah Mountain Journeys, a business operating in extreme and adventure travel. In addition to being a successful businesswoman and mum to three boys, Katie serves as a valued member of the Guide Dogs Board and Service Delivery Committee.

Group members listened intently to Katie’s journey from Adelaide schoolgirl to world-class adventurer, conquering the world’s tallest summits and most extreme conditions.

Katie was the first Australian woman to summit Mt Himlung, Nepal, in 2009 and participated in an expedition that pioneered a new route on Mt Vinson in Antarctica in 2008. In 2010, Katie summited Mt Everest, the world’s highest peak at 8,848m, becoming the first South Australian (and sixth Australian) woman to do so.

Katie says there are plenty of life lessons to be learned from mountaineering: “The most important thing is to not sweat the small stuff in everyday life… On the mountain, even really difficult days come to an end.”

Group member Terry, whose son lives with vision impairment, said, “These retreats mean everything to us. It’s a chance to share resources, make connections and recharge in a relaxing environment without any pressure. We just love it!”

In addition to our biannual retreats, our Allied Health team facilitates a monthly Carers’ Support Group where participants can hear guest speakers and access information to assist them in their valued carers’ role. The group is open to anyone caring for a Guide Dogs client who has vision impairment or autism.

Learn more about our Carers’ Support Group

CEO Aaron and Board Member Katie stand together smiling.


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