Dubai: A group of six expats from Dubai scaled a Himalayan peak in Nepal to support Harrison Fund and raise awareness about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), a genetic disorder which has no cure.
The 14-day expedition ended on March 10 after the group reached the 5,360 metre Gokyo Ri summit facing Mount Everest, Lhotse, Makalu, Kangchenjunga.
The fund is named after Harrison – the son of UK-based Alex and Donna Smith – who was diagnosed with DMD in January 2011. To most people the seven-year-old looks completely healthy but his muscles are deteriorating at an alarming rate and by the time he’s a teenager he will lose his ability to walk. Eventually he’ll lose all muscle function in his body and his heart muscles will fail.
“I undertook the trip to fulfil a vow I made to Harrison. I promised him that I would take part in an event every year to help raise money for DMD awareness and research,” said Phillip Robson, recreation manager at Towers Rotana. Robson has 22 years of military training and extensive sports and fitness coaching experience.
“One cannot imagine the pain families go through when they learn that their children are going to die from DMD. We need to do something about it and contribute towards research for a possible cure,” he aded.
The team, comprising Robson and his colleague Dinesh Puttee, Olga Labai, a legal professional, British expat Sharon Heinz, Jeroen and 70-year-old Rex Willoughby, started the climb on March 6.
“We started practicing over nine months ago. We had to face high velocity winds and freezing temperatures during the climb,” said Puttee. So far, the group has managed to raise about Dh50,000.
There is currently no cure for and most DMD patients die by the age of 16. About 400 people in the UAE suffer from DMD.
Details: To donate to Harrison Fund go to www.justgiving.com/dineshputtee