by Stacy Kellerman

Take a hike

Hikers raise thousands for charity

Kilimanjaro hikers raise approximately R140 432.50 for a Nairobi charity
Take a hike

Four staffers from Thomson Reuters Dubai will use their ascent of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak and the world’s highest free-standing mountain, to raise thousands of dollars for the Hanne Howard Fund (HHF) located in the Lenana slum in Nairobi, Kenya.

A privately run charity, HHF provides nutrition, accommodation, recreation, healthcare and education for up to 130 Aids orphans and other vulnerable children in Nairobi. This year, and for the first time, 10 children who have been with HHF since inception will be going to university.

The funds raised by Thomson Reuters hikers – Nic Potter, legal sales manager; Nasir Khamlichi, senior account manager; Abdallah Mukalled, legal content specialist; and Ameer Jawad, sponsorship sales manager – includes some R44 551 pledged by senior law firms in Dubai. Other funds have been raised through Raffles, A Pub Quiz, personal training, movies nights and sales of limited edition photography.

“We’ve tried to keep our fund-raising activities related either to our own business or to the climb – and it has paid off handsomely,” says Potter, sales manager for Thomson Reuters Legal Information Business, an experienced hiker who has done the Three Peaks Challenge in the United Kingdom several times. The challenge is a mountain running trail covering about 50 kilometres.

The team has recently been given an advantage by local gym, Talise Spa, which has given them the use of its altitude chamber – allowing them to acclimatise to the higher altitudes before the trip starts. This higher level training should prove invaluable to a team who has lived at sea level for many years. 

Kilimanjaro is known as a sky island, a mountain that is isolated from surrounding lowlands that have dramatically different environments. Because it juts out of its surroundings, the routes up the mountain are steep, making progress difficult and, sometimes, dangerous.

Also, although Kilimanjaro does not present a technically challenging climb, because the routes allow little time for acclimatisation, ‘trekkers’ experience altitude sickness including headaches, shortage of breath and hypothermia. The wide variety of terrains that must be traversed – including rainforest, alpine screes, high-altitude desert and, at the peak, snow – add to the physical and mental challenges.

Every year about 15 000 people attempt to summit Uhuru Peak, the mountain’s highest, but only 40% actually succeed.

As part of a larger party of 15 people organised by Gulf for Good, a United Arab Emirates-based charity under the patronage of His Highness, Sheik Ahmed Bin Saeed al Maktoum, which organises adventure challenges enabling people to raise funds for children’s charities around the world, the Thomson Reuter’s trekkers will use Kilimanjaro’s Maranga Route.

It is the shortest route and, for that reason, allows even less acclimatisation time than the other four. The day on which they summit will entail a 12-hour hike at an altitude at which high-altitude pulmonary oedema (HAPE) – fluid accumulation in the lungs – and high-altitude cerebral oedema – swelling of brain tissue – can occur.

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