The Walk to the Base Camp of K2
The Thalassaemia Society of Pakistan is a
torchbearer in the lives of Thalassaemic patients. It is a streak of
hope for the ailing souls of young children who are doomed forever to
pain and suffering.
The Society's aim is to create
awareness and consciousness about this inherited disorder. Thalassaemic
children often feel that they are incapable of performing daily
activities like normal children, let alone the strenuous activities.
This singular misconception in their minds was replaced by
self-confidence by one inspirational idea of the Society. The children,
who have the strength to face such bitter anguish in life with smiling
faces, can accomplish anything! The challenge was to walk to the base
camp of the second highest mountain in the World K2.
The idea was a head turner from
the very beginning. How can children who are already anaemic and
incapacitated, surmount such a great obstacle? Its true that people sit
up and listen to the most crazy ideas - the challenge was well supported
by the Thalassaemia International Federation and took a final shape.
So, with the guidance and support
of the Society, five Thalassaemics took it up themselves to accomplish
this Herculean task. They, along with their parents and with the help of
the Society began the arduous toil of preparing for the walk. The walk
to the Base Camp of K2 took a better part of a month but the preparation
took nearly a year. The enthusiasm of these children renowned our faith
in the power of conviction. They blissfully underwent constant physical
training, stress tests and regular monitoring to confirm their endurance
for the physical conditions at the base camp of the "Second highest
mountain in the World".
The goal of this test of endurance
was to spread awareness about Thalassaemia, but the most important
message these children wanted to give to the world was "IF WE ARE LOOKED
AFTER PROPERLY, WE CAN DO ANYTHING IN THE WORLD!"
These courageous children
eloquently expressed their heartfelt emotions and gave the world a
golden chance to be a part of their lives. From here, a new chapter of
infinite hope and conviction begins. The tedious journey started with
generating funds for the walk, training the participants, a 10 day trek
and final culmination at the base of the mighty K2, which stood to
honour the dedication of our little soldiers.
These Thalassaemic children, began
their journey by road on July 2, 2001. After two days, they reached the
highest desert region in the world, the valley of Skardu. The children
and other participants, stayed in Skardu for a week, walking every
single day so that they could become acclimatized to the thin air.
Finally the 10th of July dawned
upon this group of 32 people, who set off for Thungal by jeep. Where
they camped for the night. On the 11th of July the group started walking
for the next destination which was Korfung.
day walk lasted for 12 hours for these children, every step was
exhausting and required great conviction and motivation for the noble
cause. One of the toughest terrains in the world lay unfathomed and the
miles ahead were tormenting. Beautiful landscape turned into a real life
drama as these children traveled with their full perseverance. Perils
were numerous but the hopes soared higher. Many a time the Society
members were intimidated by the intensity of the perils that lay ahead
but faced it skillfully and bravely. Gushing, ice cold waters roared
below bridges made of wooden logs. A treacherous path ascended into the
mountains and onto the glacier; the air grew thinner and breathing was
laboured … energy levels were sapped … but hopes never shattered.
Watching these children toil for their sick friends was heartwarming.
The world watched in amazement as
the walk continued unabated to Jula, Paiyo, Khobrste, Urdukas, Gore 1 &
finally Concordia. The Walk came to an end at the base camp of K2 on the
19th of July. Exhausted children, their parents and volunteers rejoiced
at their achievement. Emotions soared high. Tears of happiness rolled
down cheeks. They had set new standards of courage and endurance. They
had proved to the world that though ailments weaken bodies, souls are
immortal and can reach any height if there is the will to do so. We are
sure you have enjoyed this beautiful experience of our brave soldiers.
Our world is definitely more complete and perfect with the dedication
and courage shown by these children.
Our venture was not possible
without the help of our generous sponsors. They have illuminated the
lives of Thalassaemics with their cooperation and assistance. We express
our heartfelt gratitude to our friends at: Bank Alfalah, Lipton Yellow
Label, World Call, Hang Ten, Servis Shoes, Punjab Horticulture Society,
CDL Foods, McDonalds, Salt 'N Pepper, Rafhan Best Foods, Nirala Sweets,
Seasons Canola & Punjab Horticulture Authority.
We are especially indebted to
Align Technology. With their gracious help, our courageous team of
heroes came home safely and comfortably by helicopter. All our
beneficial sponsors made our journey to the base camp of K2 more than a
mere dream and Align Technology completed it with the perfection and
grace such an endevour deserved.
We would also like to thank
Millennium Tours for organizing the walk for us and for all the support
and help they have provided.
Last but not least we extend our
thanks to our friends from the UK, Mr. Gerald Mason, Dr. Robert Mueller,
Ms. Irna Qureshi, Ms. Gulshan Karbani & Dr. Tasleem Tariq for
contributing very generous donations to the society. .
especially thank Mr. Mason, Dr. Mueller and Ms. Qureshi for also
participating in the walk. We thank them all from the bottom of our