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Team to tackle Everest to raise funds for KH

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Joining forces for a second time, the respective charities aim to once a again bring hope to burn victims

The Avela Foundation team that will be climbing Mount Everest in May.

A TEAM of 12 people will climb Mount Everest in May in a bid to raise R2 million to help refurbish Kimberly Hospital’s burn ward.

In collaboration with the Smile Foundation, the climbers will embark on their journey on April 29 to Kathmandu, Nepal. The hike, expected to take nine days, will begin on May 2.

Hoping to crowdfund a total of R2 million on donations-based crowdfunding platform BackaBuddy, the team have begun vigorous training.

Cami Palomo, the founder of the Avela Foundation, a non-profit organisation that is committed to helping children on their road to physical and emotional recovery after sustaining severe burn injuries, assembled the dream team to accompany her on a journey to Base Camp on Mount Everest.

She says that around 3.2 percent of the South African population annually sustains serious burn injuries and an astonishing 68 percent of South African children younger than 14 have experienced scalding burns in their short lifetime.

“We provide hope to those kids who are in desperate need of physical as well as emotional care after having suffered life-threatening or debilitating burn injuries”, says Palomo.

In November 2016 the Avela Foundation teamed up with the Smile Foundation to donate the first ever R1.5 million laser machine to the Red Cross War Memorial Hospital, a machine that has dramatically improved the appearance of scarring on children who have suffered from severe burns.

Joining forces for a second time, the respective charities aim to once a again bring hope to burn victims.

Hedley Lewis, Smile Foundation’s CEO, says this journey is about overcoming challenges for both the climbers and, just as importantly, burn survivors.

Among those survivors is the Head of the Avela Mentorship Programme, William Baartman, who at age of three years old was a victim of gross human rights violation when his home was petrol bombed by local students. He sustained 75 percent burn wounds and lost his younger sister, Grace, in the fire.

William hopes to raise R75 000 to join the Mount Everest hikers to inspire others who were once like him.

“I was too afraid to leave the house because I was scared of what others might think and now I’m wanting to climb Mount Everest. I hope to send a message to those hiding from the world, that there’s hope for them, hope they think doesn’t exist,” he says.

They have so far generated a total of R402 903.13 towards their target of R2 million.

To support Avela’s crowdfunding campaign to refurbish the Kimberley Hospital burn ward, support one of the amazing hikers here: https://www.backabuddy.co.za/champion/groups/everest-for-avela-2018