No mountain too high for lymphoma survivors

2010-05-06 00:00

A TEAM of three ordinary, yet courageous, people have begun climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in an attempt to raise public awareness of the symptoms of lymphoma and the importance of the early detection of this type of cancer.

The team, captained by Robby Kojetin, who made headlines in 2009 by becoming the 17th South African to climb Mount Everest, arrived in Kilimanjaro on Monday. They are expected to reach the summit on Sunday.

Kojetin lost one of his best friends to lymphoma which prompted him to do something to create awareness about the illness. He is joined by Ilse-Marie Hanekom and Lionel Greenberg, who are both lymphoma survivors.

Hanekom, known for her appearance in South Africa’s Big Brother series, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in February 2008. After undergoing chemotherapy, she was given a clean bill of health in June 2008.

The three hikers yesterday made their way to Baranco Camp at the foot of the mountain, where they spent the day acclimatising to conditions.

The team will be carrying a soccer ball with them on the climb, inscribed with messages from lymphoma victims and survivors around the country. This has been done to celebrate South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 Fifa World Cup this year.

“It’s really great to have the opportunity to carry the messages of those still fighting the disease while they can’t,” Kojetin said.

Kojetin, who has reached Kilimanjaro’s summit four times already, will lead the way in a trying hike to Karanga Valley today.

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