Expedition Mt Kinabalu –Summit of Borneo
Some background: My father is Malaysian, and my mother is English. I was raised in a small town called Kota Kinabalu (KK), on the island of Borneo.
I spent my childhood running around and playing on the beaches, the islands, the rivers and the hills in and around KK. In those days, KK and its surrounding area were largely undeveloped, and it was paradise.
When my father was chairman of National Parks, we would take many trips up to a cluster of small houses that would one day become the Park Headquarters that we know today. I remember how the trip would take a grueling nine hours as our landrover would slip and slide its way up steep, unpaved roads and hills, sometimes having to be towed by a steamroller when the rains had been particularly bad. That was life in the late 1960’s early 70’s. Today it takes a fast hour and a half to reach the Park Headquarters.
I had always dreamed of climbing Mt Kinabalu as a child. By the time I was 20, I had climbed that mountain four times. (Mt Kinabalu is 13, 455 ft).
Years later, when my first son Dusty was born, I couldn’t wait until he was old enough to climb with me.
Sadly, not only would Dusty never climb Mt Kinabalu with me, but also he would end up not being able to do many things most ordinary boys and young men do. Eventually, as he got older, he would stop jumping, stop running, and stop walking. He would stop being able to hug, comb his hair, chew, swallow, and even breathe without help.
When my son was age six, he was diagnosed with a fatal disease, called Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
I tell Dusty, who is 18, that everyone is climbing their own mountain, but for the boys and families afflicted with Duchenne, we are climbing Mt Everest, reserved for the very brave and courageous. There’s no turning back on this mountain. We are committed, we need to keep moving forward, and even when the forecast is unfavorable, we never give up.
With that in mind, Expedition Mt Kinabalu was created. I’m returning to my hometown, together with a team of international climbers, to climb Mt Kinabalu for my son and for ALL the other brave and courageous boys and young men around the world with Duchenne.
By reaching the summit, our goal is to raise global awareness for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The world needs to know about this disease. There is currently no cure, but with increased awareness and funding, this disease can be cured.
Please join us for Expedition Mt Kinabalu – Summit of Borneo. It will be an adventure of a lifetime!