Just back from Antarctica and was inspired to see this story of passion and purpose in my news feed this morning —
In a nutshell – British adventurer Sir Ranulph Fiennes aims to be the first to walk across the Antarctic continent during the winter. As part of his effort, he hopes to raise US$ million to to fight avoidable blindness in low-income countries. The money will be donated to UK charity Seeing is Believing and donations will be matched dollar for dollar by Standard Chartered Bank for a potential total of US$10 million.
In the world’s poorest countries, lack of access to basic eye care, Vitamin A deficiency and vulnerability to water-related eye infections can cause blindness, and this is often preventable. For example, corneal scarring – the most common cause of childhood blindness – can be prevented with two drops of Vitamin A which costs just US$0.05. (Facts sourced from Kids with Vision and World Health Organization.)
The journey will not be easy. It has been completed during the summer season, when the extent of sea ice is much reduced, temperatures are warmer and weather conditions are not as harsh. But during the Southern Hemisphere winter (which starts in March), temperatures can reach 100 degrees Fahrenheit (-73 degrees Celsius) and there is near 24 hour darkness. Starting on the first day of next year’s winter season – March 21 2013 – Sir Ranulph and his team plan to walk some 2500-3000 miles over the course of their six month adventure. No one has ever done this before.
Just in case you thought there weren’t any adventures left to be had, guys like this with balls the size of coconuts come along and show us that there is always a record waiting to be broken. And kudos to him for doing it for a good cause!
Watch Sir Ranulph’s recent interview with CNN, below. You can also read more about the initiative on Seeing is Believing’s website.