A Tauranga mental health advocate is all set for the ride of her life - climbing Africa's highest peak - after turning her life around.

Bonnie McCash will travel to Tanzania with around 25 other Kiwis to climb the 5900 metre Mt Kilimanjaro in September to help fundraise for the Mental Health Foundation.

Ms McCash, who has experienced mental health issues in the past, said she has turned a corner since completing a certificate in mental health support work in 2010.

She said the climb was just one more step - or maybe a few more - on her journey.


"I'm nervous and excited," she said. "It means a whole change in lifestyle. I'm exercising, eating right, all that kind of stuff."

The trip is being led by ultramarathon runner Mal Law and MHF fundraising co-ordinator Keshlar Inglis.

Ms McCash said she's turned her life around - she's quit smoking, eating better and exercising more. The group will spend seven days on the mountain going up and coming down.

Ms McCash said having a goal on making the top has helped her on her journey.

"I've lost 12.5kg, and I plan to lose another 10kg by departure date on September 13," she said.

"I'm really stepping it up now. I go up the Mount every weekend - I try to do it every Saturday and Sunday, and I go to the gym during the week."

After starting in a voluntary role after her training, she now works in a fulltime role at Turning Point, a mental health and addiction provider in Greerton.

In two months, she'll bid her colleagues goodbye for an experience of a lifetime.

"I'm most looking forward to seeing sunrise over Serengeti National Park," she said.

And the least?

"I've heard the hardest part of the trek is when we leave camp at midnight to reach the summit to see the sunrise."

A perfect analogy - despite sometimes trekking uphill, and sometimes in the dark, with help and support you can reach the top and experience a gorgeous sunrise.

A brand new day, standing on top of the world.

You can donate to Bonnie's journey at https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/bonniemccashkilimanjaro.