Tribute to survivors’ fighting spirit

  • Metro News
  • Thursday, 22 Aug 2019

Volunteers are all smiles midway when the sky was still clear.

Kota kinabalu: Symbolic to cancer patients’ determination and endurance throughout their struggles against the mortal disease, 25 climbers courageously scaled up Mount Kinabalu in Sabah.

This year, Makna turns 25.

To mark the milestone, the 25 climbers, including cancer survivors, volunteers, National Cancer Council Malaysia (Makna) staff and AirAsia Allstars, gathered from all corners of Malaysia. Also part of team was a Filipino working in Kuala Lumpur.

Supported by AirAsia and Tune Protect Travel Insurance, the expedition is part of Makna’s annual fundraising effort.

Initiated in 2012, the “Klimb Kinabalu” programme is primarily to raise cancer awareness among the public while generating funds to help financially-challenged patients.

“The greatest inspiration in climbing the majestic Mount Kinabalu, despite all the personal struggles of an individual, is the achievement of making it – this is beyond explanation, ” said Klimb Kinabalu initiator Vemanna Appannah.

He added that this year was the seventh series of Klimb Kinabalu.

On summit push day, volunteers slowly pulled themselves up the rock face heading to the summit.On summit push day, volunteers slowly pulled themselves up the rock face heading to the summit.

“The 25 years had been an incredible ride for Makna, remarkable years of warmth, friendship and support, ” he said, thanking all Makna donors and supporters through the years.

Volunteer Timothy Dharvind Denis first climbed Mount Kinabalu in 2017 with Makna.

“I’ve heard so many beautiful stories from individuals who shared how they were impacted by the loss of their loved ones to cancer, some who survived cancer and some still going strong battling it, ” said Timothy who lost his grandmother to cancer.

“We are doing this for them, with a pure message that we are all in this together to fight through the battle, ” Timothy said.

Volunteer climber Leong Dee Lu said he took the journey with two friends, Renee Aziz Ahmad and Gan Li Li, whom he described as survivors with amazing inner strength.

“Everyone suffers their brand of pain in this journey of life. But we can take this journey together and offer strength through support and encouragement in the most difficult of times.

Filipino climber Wilfredo T. Santos said he was exhausted and almost breathless.

“I struggled to pull myself up near the vertical granite wall using wet and cold ropes tethered to the rocks.

“I couldn’t push myself to the last 400m or so to the summit.

“Just like what cancer patients go through, some make it while others don’t.

“The physical pain and challenges I went through may be nothing compared to what cancer warriors go through.

“But I’m grateful to be part of Makna’s 25 years of supporting cancer patients and their families in Malaysia, ” said Santos, who lost his mother to cancer.

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