THE challenge of climbing the highest mountain in Africa was undertaken in September by a hardy brother and sister team from Raheen, to raise funds for The Parkinson’s Association of Ireland.
Laura and Diarmuid Sinnott secured an impressive €14,000 for the charity by scaling the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro, with the funds raised throughout the year by such means as an American Tea Party in The Castle Arms Hotel, Durrow, a soccer match and bag-packs at supermarkets in Abbeyleix and Portlaoise. The Parkinson’s Association is a charity close to their hearts, as their mother, Martina, who is Raheen notes correspondent for the Leinster Express, has suffered with the condition for years.
There were 19 Irish people supporting the Parkinson’s Association attempting the climb, with Laura and Diarmuid being the only two from the east midlands branch to be involved. Laura explained that the age profile of the group ranged from 18 up to 70 and each member had one porter to carry their bags during the trek, with local guides leading the way. The group would camp every evening in wooden huts, and on the last night they hiked for seven hours to reach the top. Although the first few days were relatively easy, Laura said that as they ascended the thinning altitude began to make things more difficult.
“It was an amateur hike known as the Coca Cola route,” Laura explained, “there was no professional climbing, just hiking. The least we hiked was 7km a day and the most was 25km. The steepness varied, it would be steep and then it would flatten out.”
Besides the €14,000 that Laura and Diarmuid raised, the whole group managed to garner €85,000 for the charity. When Laura and Diarmuid arrived back in Ireland, they were met at the airport by all the family, a lovely welcome home although Laura said the siblings were feeling none too fresh after their ten-hour flight. Next year, the association are considering the Great Wall of China as their challenge and Laura said there may be a chance herself and Diarmuid will gear up for yet another tiring, but incredibly beneficial piece of fundraising.