Rotana’s ‘Emirates to Everest’

Team scales peak for DMD victim
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, May 09, 2014

DUBAI: The drive to raise funds for the young Harrison Smith who suffers from the rare disease, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD), encouraged a team of 6 employees of Towers Rotana hotel to scale the summit of Gokyo Ri in the Himalaya mountains who returned to successfully generate Dhs40,000.
At a press conference held at the Towers Rotana hotel in Dubai on Thursday, the team members shared their experience of the 12-day journey from the UAE to Nepal. The team also included Rex Willoughby, grandfather of young Harrison Smith, along with other members that included Olga, Dinesh, Phill, Sharon and Jeroen who have been working in different capacities in the hotel.
The initiative ‘Emirates to Everest’ was completed recently to support Harrison’s Fund and raise worldwide awareness about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Currently, around 425 cases in the UAE are found in children who suffer from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy in which 5 cases are from Dubai alone.
The charity Harrison’s Fund has been established in the UK, while the UAE chapter has also been set up which started a number of initiatives to raise funds for research as the experts are yet to find a cure.
According to experts, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy is a rapidly progressive form of muscular dystrophy that occurs primarily in boys. It is caused by an alteration in the DMD gene. Individuals diagnosed with DMD have progressive loss of muscle function and weakness which begins in the lower limbs.
DMD affects approximately 1 in 3,500 male births worldwide and unfortunately there is no cure.
The recent trekking initiative raised around Dhs40,000 and the target of Dhs50,000 will be completed in the next 2 weeks as people pool in their share in the fund either donating online or through other modes to support the research initiative to be taken soon.
Mrad El Khoury, an official of the hotel, while addressing the media said that as part of the hotel’s corporate social responsibilities, the event was organized along with other partners to raise funds and awareness about Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
“We hope that the foundation will tremendously benefit from this event and we will continue our efforts in pursuing this commitment with great dedication and enthusiasm,” he added.
Sharing their experience of trekking for a cause, Phill Robson, another official, told the media about the training and the journey from UAE to 5,357-meter high Gokyo Ri Summit, standing opposite Mount Everest.
“I have committed to set up the Dubai-based charter of UK charity Harrison’s Fund in order to help families of the UAE with children who suffer from the DMD. To raise funds we will organise such more events in the near future,” he stated.
Rex Willoughby, the grandfather of young Harrison, was part of the team who reached the summit and pointed that after many years of trekking for prostate cancer, he has undertaken this latest trek for Harrison’s Fund. “I’m sure soon we will generate enough funds to support the research to find a cure for this fatal disease and save children around the world,” he said.

~ by jamilkhan on May 10, 2014.

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