Muscat, July 1 – Oman Cancer Association’s (OCA) 20-member team has returned home after successfully scaling Mount Kilimanjaro, which is located in Tanzania, and is the highest mountain in Africa. One of the team members, who is also a cancer survivor, reached the second camp, but extreme weather conditions (snowing) forced the volunteer to return to base. Nineteen others reached the top of the summit. Four of them reached Stella Point, while the remaining 15 reached the highest point on Mount Kilimanjaro — Uhuru, which means freedom in Swahili.
Cancer survivor, Juzair Nawab, who completed the journey to the summit, said: “I am thankful to Oman Cancer Association for giving me an opportunity to be part of this expedition. When I learnt about the project and the purpose behind it, I was impressed because I have personally experienced the benefits of healthy lifestyle and physical activity in fighting and overcoming cancer.”
“Initially I had a lot of hesitation, but with Nasser al Azri’s persuasion and excellent support from the team members, I decided to go ahead and gave it my best shot. I hope whatever little I have achieved will inspire other cancer patients and the community to fight cancer.”
Volunteers who had enrolled for the programme were put through exercise and yoga regimen for six months. Those who successfully completed the programme were chosen to scale the mountain.
“This programme would not have been successful had it not been for the strong commitment of those involved at all levels. Juzair Nawab is now a role model for all cancer survivors. They brought out the esprit de corps that was necessary for the success of the programme. We would like to thank all those who have sponsored this team,” said Dr Waheed al Kharousi, Chairman of Oman Cancer Association.
“It was difficult managing a team of 20 because we had to constantly think of how each person was responding to weather conditions in addition to their health. In addition to fitness training, we incorporated yoga to ensure everyone has the right breathing techniques,” said Nasser al Azri, an experienced climber who led the programme and the climbing expedition.
On June 21, the OCA team set off on their journey from Muscat and returned on Saturday.
Out of the 10 days, seven were spent on climbing up and down the summit.
“No major incidents or side effects. Only cold burns
and flu thankfully,” said
OCA chose this project to highlight that “physical inactivity is one of the four recognised main risk factors of cancer”.
“Physical activity is an important component in cancer prevention and control. OCA’s strategy is to create awareness and encourage the community to engage in healthy lifestyle and physical activity. It is important and necessary to create this awareness among all sections of the community with programmes suitable for different age groups,” said Dr Al Kharousi.
According to Dr Al Kharousi, the participants, consisting of men and women, are now trained to be ambassadors of physical activity for rest of the community.
The event is going to be an annual programme for creating awareness on the importance of a healthy lifestyle and physical activity in cancer prevention and control.