Skip to main content

Wasaga Beach, Ont. woman treks to Mount Everest base camp to help send kids to camp

A Wasaga Beach, Ont. woman embarked on an incredible journey to raise funds for a cause close to her heart.

Joanne Smith and several other Tim Hortons franchisee owners have been trekking to Mount Everest's base camp through harsh weather conditions to raise money to help send thousands of kids to camp.

"All the franchisees managed to successfully touch the Mount Everest base camp rock," said Smith, owner of the Penetanguishene and Midland stores. "We, as a team, the 14 of us, completed the goal."

Smith described a gruelling expedition, with challenges among the group, including headaches, nausea, and breathing difficulties due to the high altitude.

A team of people, including Joanne Smith, of Wasaga Beach, Ont., trek to Mount Everest's base camp in May 2023. (Supplied)

Still, she said the team stayed positive and focused on their shared goal of making a difference for deserving children.

"It's one thing to have a fundraiser; it's another to put your, we'll call it, blood, sweat and tears into it to really try to prove that you're willing to make a difference," Smith said via Skype in Nepal, admitting the so-far nine-day trek has also been emotional at times.

"It was just special and proves that if you want something bad enough, you can make it happen," she noted. "Who would have ever thought someone from Wasaga Beach or someone from Waterloo or the west coast or east coast could be here doing this? It really allows you a lot of time to contemplate life and count your blessings."

Joanne Smith, of Wasaga Beach, Ont., in Nepal, on Mon., May 8, 2023. (via Skype)

Reflecting on the past week and a half, Smith said she developed a great admiration for the people of Nepal.

"There are people walking around in sandals and slides, and that's their basic footwear. It's a tough life in Nepal. [I have] nothing but respect. They work hard."

Smith said she would walk away from the experience with an appreciation for life back home.

"The simplest things like a toilet seat, for example, and eating your meals in warmth, is something that has honestly made me reflect and think I've always taken that somewhat for granted. To understand that there's a whole culture where that's not their norm, it's something to be appreciated, being Canadian and living where we live."

The team will now make their way back down from the base and then fly to Kathmandu, where they will prepare to get "back to reality" and head home before planning the next fundraiser for the Tim Hortons Children's Foundation.

"From here, it's downhill, [you] still have to keep your wits about you. The rocks are pretty sharp on the way down, but you just need to mind your footing, but the biggest part is behind us now," Smith concluded. Top Stories

Stay Connected