Arctic trek as policeman raises thousands for cancer charity

For his first ever visit to Finland, Sgt Don Sutherland decided to go for a 70m trek in Lapland.

Sgt Don Sutherland during his Lapland hike / Credit. D. Sutherland

A policeman from Scotland has completed a three day, 70km trek in Lapland to raise money for a cancer charity.

The journey was tougher than expected, as slightly warmer temperatures over the last few days made conditions heavy-going.

“The trail was much softer, and guides told us the walking conditions were worse than in the real cold, all I know is I have never felt so cold where even the most basic functions were difficult!” explains Sgt Don Sutherland.

Sutherland arrived in Rovaniemi last weekend, his first visit to Finland, and joined several other hikers on the route north of the Arctic Circle.

He tells News Now Finland that he was inspired to make the trip to help a charity called Maggie’s Centres which runs a network of drop-in centres that offer assistance to people affected by cancer.

Sgt Don Sutherland during his Lapland hike / Credit. D. Sutherland

In 2011 Don Sutherland’s sister died from pancreatic cancer, and less than a year later his wife died from cervical cancer.

“To say I was devastated would be an understatement. I was lost for a while” he says.

In 2014 he found his way to his local Maggie’s Centre and found people who listened and supported him, understanding what he was going through at the time.

“The staff patiently listened to my tale of woe and over time helped me to come to terms with what had happened, and why I felt the way I did. With greater understanding came the strength to move forward with my life in a positive and constructive manner”.

Don’s Arctic trek is not his first super human feat of endurance to raise money for the charity. In 2018 he cycled the length of Great Britain from the most southerly tip at Land’s End, to the very furthest point of the Scottish mainland at John O’Groats – a trip of more than 1400km.

Although he describes himself as “not much of a walker”, Sgt Sutherland did some training on local hills in Scotland to get ready for Lapland.

During his time in Finland, Don and his compatriots endured sub zero temperatures and slept outside in tents overnight but it was all for a worthwhile cause, raising money to keep his local Maggie’s Centre operational.

He’s so far raised nearly €5700 via a JustGiving page online.

Returning back to Rovaniemi on Tuesday evening after successfully completing his mission, Don says he had “the best shower ever”.

Sgt Don Sutherland during his Lapland hike / Credit. D. Sutherland