SOME weeks ago we carried a story on our website about a Reading woman’s plans to climb to the summit of Kilimanjaro and how she had exceeded her aim of raising £500 for the benefit of the children under HEAL’s care.
Sonali Patwardhan has been back in touch with us to say that she not only achieved her goal of reaching the top of the world’s tallest free-standing mountain in Tanzania, but went on to more than double her original fundraising target!
“I am happy to inform you that I summited Kilimanjaro on October 24 and have managed to raise £1,093.68 so far via my fundraising page (www.justgiving.com/SonaliPatwardhan),” reports Sonali.
She described “good and bad memories” of her high-altitude journey and wishes to thank everyone on her support team and those who made donations to her JustGiving page.
“I wanted to raise money for a charity who are doing great work in providing shelter, education and healthcare to orphan children in India. My hope was to make it to the summit keeping all the HEAL children in mind.
“I myself am from India and would love to visit the children’s village, meet the children and do some volunteering work while I am there.
“At first, I wondered how a seven-day trek to some volcanic mountain could be the journey of lifetime or a life-changing experience. Now that I am back, I can say it has one of the most incredible and unbelievably surreal experiences I have ever had.
“I cannot point out one particular part of it as being the defining moment – not even reaching the summit and taking a photo under the sign which congratulates you on being at the roof of Africa. It was the entire journey that was memorable.
“I’d like to thank those who helped me prepare, all the anonymous supporters and all the friends who supported the charity I am raising money for. Also, the crazy lot I met on the actual adventure!
“From emotional outbursts to the laughter we shared with people who were strangers at first. Above all, the people who I am going to be friends with for a very long time, and the people who I might not see again but who supported and cheered for me as I was making my way to the summit.
“All these things have enriched my life and have changed it for the better. I am a different person now. my inner self is enriched with good experiences and a vibe of positive energy from each person I met along the way. I would like to thank them from bottom of my heart for being part of this journey. Hakuna matata.”
The HEAL trustees would like to congratulate Sonali for reaching her goal and for raising such a wonderful amount. HEAL relies entirely on donations such as these to allow us to continue and, indeed, expand our work with vulnerable children by giving them an education and providing them with the tools to hopefully go on and achieve great things themselves in the future.