Westholme volunteers set for trip of a lifetime

10:32am Tuesday 6th May 2014

By Emma Cruces

A GROUP of school children are set to travel to Ecuador as part of a volunteers project.

Pupils at Westholme School have been given a target of raising £4,400 which will go towards the expedition and make a financial contribution to projects they will be involved with in the South American country.

The group of 30 include Alice Galatola, who was recently diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and was inspired to take part in the trip of a lifetime. Alice and fellow pupils will be heading to four sites in Ecuador, which have not yet been revealed.

They will be helping with environmental problems relating to deforestation in the mountains before visiting villages to help out with community schemes and teach English. The final part of the expedition is five days in the Galapagos Islands where pupils could be one of the last tour groups to visit before it is closed to the public in order to preserve the wildlife.

Alice, who is hoping to have a career in medicine, raised the last of her funds needed through networking events and fundraising activities where she shared her personal story with people and explained her challenge.

Alice’s mum Shelagh Brownlow said: “Since she was at junior school, Alice has wanted to be a psychiatrist and hopes that by overcoming the challenges she will face in Ecuador, this will help her to develop her practical skills, build her resilience and show that she’s got what it takes to get through to medical school despite her own mental health issues.’ Alice said: “My Asperger’s means that in order to get accepted into a university to study medicine, I have to fight four times as hard as everyone else. I have to do as many activities as I am presented the opportunity with.

“My dream is not to walk on the moon, or play football with David Beckham or to sing on the X Factor.

“My dream is so much simpler, yet so hard for me to achieve. I need all the support I can get from those around me — both from my family and my friends — and then, maybe then, I can achieve my dream.”

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