While the Ice Bucket Challenge to raise awareness and funding for treatment of ALS was making viral laps of honour around the world, some Africans were doing their own challenge to raise awareness for another rare but serious health condition. In a bid to raise awareness on Down syndrome and fundraise for the Down syndrome Foundation, 2 Nigerians and a Cameroonian professional summited Mt Kilimanjaro on Friday 22nd August at about 9.00am. The charity hike called Climb for Down syndrome was organized by Inspired by charity, a Lagos based social enterprise. The professionals, Umar Farouk Umar a UK based software engineer, Thierry Mbimi, Director of Financial Risk Management at KPMG Lagos and Adedotun Eyinade, a Tanzania based Global Fellow with Acumen Fund embarked on the 6-day hike on Monday 18th August through the Machame route.
“This is by far the most challenging thing I have done in my three decades of existence”, said Eyinade Adedotun, co-founder of Inspired by Charity. “We braved the odds of Altitude Mountain Sickness (AMS), physical exhaustion and freezing sub-zero temperature of the summit night to reach Uhuru Peak, the roof of Africa. According to Thierry Mbimi, one of the hikers, summiting Mt Kilimanjaro was no mean feat, and remains a testament to the team’s determination and undying courage in the quest of championing a worthy cause.
Machame route, one of the seven routes to Uhuru peak is said to be the most scenic and is preferred because it allows for hikers to acclimatize to the altitude. In all the team hiked for close to 40 hours across five distinct ecological zones to reach Uhuru peak (5,895meters)
We hope more Nigerians will be encouraged to donate to support the outstanding work that the Down Syndrome Foundation is doing to provide succor and care to persons living with Down Syndrome, said, Umar Farouk Umar who joined the hiking party from his base in London. “That was the very motivation for our climb; we are grateful for the encouragement we received during the climb and we hope that more people will be inspired to give out of appreciation for our modest efforts”, he added. In order to supplement the donations already received, pictures from the climb will be packaged into a coffee table book, and a public exhibition of the pictures will also be made. Proceeds from the sales of the book and the exhibition will be donated to support the work of the Down Syndrome Foundation Nigeria.
Donations to the Down Syndrome Foundation can be made directly to their bank account as well as on 234give.com, a crowdfunding site.
Climb for Down Syndrome was supported by: KPMG, Ynaija, Premium Times, The cable news, Ekekee, One Life Initiatives, Development Diaries and Jobberman