Seven years after being a candidate for a cochlear implant, Tracy Duncan, 37, from Goodwood, is preparing to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for hearing aids and cochlear implants for children in need.
The #Climb4TheDeaf challenge, from August 21 – 28, is a collaborative initiative supported by the Be the Best Version of Yourself Foundation, a non-profit company, and the Miss, Mr and Mrs Deaf South Africa organisation.
Ms Duncan forms part of a group of 11 people, including four former Miss, Mr and Mrs Deaf South Africa winners, who will be climbing the tallest mountain in Africa.
The Be the Best Version of Yourself Foundation tries to bridge the gap between the hearing and the deaf communities in Africa and create awareness about the daily challenges faced by the deaf, according to Nolan Pillay, one of the foundation’s directors.
Each climber needs to raise R100 000, which will go towards the Foundation for Children with Hearing Loss in Southern Africa, a non-profit organisation that gives financial assistance to those in need of hearing aids.
Cochlear implants help to improve the hearing of people with severe hearing loss.
According to the foundation, hearing aids, depending on the diagnosis, can cost between R15 000 and R120 000, while cochlear-implant procedures can range from R375 000 to R400 000.
Ms Duncan, a graphic designer and reiki practitioner who was born with profound hearing loss in both ears, says the cochlear implant procedure drastically changed her life.
“Because I was Mrs Deaf South Africa 2018, Mrs Deaf International Second Princess 2019, as well as an avid hiker, they asked me if I would be interested in climbing Kilimanjaro to raise much-needed funds.
“I grabbed the opportunity with both hands because summiting Kilimanjaro has always been my dream, and I will be doing it for a cause close to my heart: giving deaf children the same opportunity that I had to hear better.”
In preparation for the challenge, Ms Duncan follows a strict exercise programme. The climbers will also be undergoing five compulsory training sessions.
“I aim to do short hikes on Fridays and longer 10 – 17 km hikes on Saturdays and Sundays. I’m also hiking up the Drakensberg in April. I hit the gym at 5am daily to do cardio (swimming and running) and strength training.“
The challenge takes place ahead of the Miss, Mr and Mrs Deaf South Africa 2022 Pageant and the annual International Deaf Awareness month in September.
“I love a good challenge and overcoming obstacles and that’s why conquering Kilimanjaro is so appealing,” she says. “I want to prove to myself and the world that despite my condition, I am limitless.”
The public can visit gogetfunding.com to donate.