In a bid to raise funds for differently-abled children to enjoy the freedom to move and learn, South African trail runner Christiaan Greyling will climb seven summits in seven days with his son joining him on one of the days.
I will raise funds for a state-of-the-art special care school with a clinic and specially-designed playground to aid movement
“My new challenge aims to make people aware of the challenges that disabled children face. To do this I will summit seven Western Cape mountains, of more than 1000m vertical ascent each, in seven days to raise funds for a state-of-the-art special care school with a clinic and specially-designed playground to aid movement,” Greyling says.
By summiting a mountain, a day I’m aiming to raise one rand for every one vertical metre climbed during the week by any of the club members, with the final goal being R50 000,” he says.
As a club we climbed a combined total of 42,768m
With the help and donations we have raised more than the vertical meters and raised a total of R40 000 to date!
Why Starting Chance
His charity of choice is Starting Chance, A non-profit organisation in Mfuleni in Cape Town. The project partially funded by HomeChoice is committed to to making a difference in the lives of children in the early childhood sector.
“By summiting mountains, we experience freedom and by moving, we can give freedom to others.
The Biggest challenge was not the physical activity as initially expected, but with this project came many more logistical nightmares to juggle during a normal work-week. The normal daily challenges which include work, meetings, health, a baby with high fever, a car accident, 4 birthdays, a business to run, family dynamics and to stay true to my commitment of summiting 7 mountains and getting an elevation of 1000m every day.
Mountains summited during the week of 9-15 September
The 7th Summit
After I have completed 6 summits relatively easy, one could imagine the 7th summit would also go smooth as I have a full day to take control of my commitment. Our day started in Greyton where we camped for a good friend’s 40th birthday. Myself and my wife Lanide break camp at 6am and left for Worcester to drop our baby at my sister’s house while we summit Sneeukop. Halfway up the mountain, we realized we will not make it back in time, and following the whatsapp communication, he was not happy at all. My sister was hosting her boy’s 8th birthday and there was no way we could expect other people to give up their commitments because of ours. After weighing up options and risks, with one cellphone and one car, I realised that I must abandon this mountain.
We then spent time with our family and I have then planned to summit a familiar mountain that night in Stellenbosch as I now had 500m ascent for the day. As I played around with various emotions I read this text on the wall; Joshua 1:9 – Be strong and courageous, do not be frightened and not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
The plan was to start at 5pm with my good friend Gabriel. As we left the parking for the trail, we heard a loud noise and to our shock we noticed that someone bumped into his parked bakkie. The worst was that the bakkie was committed to a buyer from Gauteng the previous day.
I felt partially responsible, so I went with him to report the case and 45 minutes later we were back at the start of the trail. We secured safer parking but as we were about to start I received a phone call from my wife that our baby’s got a fever of 39.
By now I was convinced that this summit is not for me to conquer, but the summit is an emotional one, a spiritual battle to overcome. We found an after hours pharmacy and with the help of my doctor sister, I got the right medication. On our way home, Landie said the fever settled and suggested that we climb the final mountain. At 18:25 we started our ascent up Botmaskop from Stellenbosch but I prayed and a lot for a safe summit to complete this project. It was a beautiful crisp evening, but Botmaskop is sketchy in places and has a very high crime rate.
At 19:30 I popped out at the top of Botmaskop with a total ascent of 1250m for the day and 8373m for the week relieved, thankful and praising God for the health to climb mountains, and his blessings throughout the project. I felt a feeling of achievement, of completion and found it very applicable as the number 7 in Hebrew exactly means completion.
I soon realised that while we have to juggle to keep all the balls in the air we forget about the struggles differently abled kids has to overcome. A simple task to make your own food or walk to the school does not even exist in some peoples reference. This challenge to me was not about the money we raised, but it gave me the reason for introspection to how fast we live our lives without noticing the people around us and the people who struggle.
As we have to support those who can’t help themselves, I have to thank the people who supported me during this project, because without you it would not have been possible to raise R40 000+, climb 8374m during a normal work week and experience all these amazing views on top of the mountains. Kirsty Hatt for doing all the project communication, media and for your positive attitude, Starting Chance for the great work which you do. My friends who supported, ran with me, listened to my story and contributed to my course, my family who supported, smiled and even climbed with me when they could. My sponsors for sharing the story and equipping me with the best equipment to do what we do.