Raising funds for the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital - Cape Town, South Africa

In 2009 my young grandson, Tristan, suffered burns to his upper body and was treated in the phenomenal Burns Unit at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town. It was an extremely traumatising experience for us all and introduced us to the reality faced by so many sick children and their families who have to deal with this kind of trauma.

We are so grateful for the wonderful care and support Tristan received at the Hospital from doctors and medical staff that we decided, as a family, that it would be fitting for us to be able to give back in some way. I’ve therefore committed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in July 2010 and will attempt to raise much needed funds for the Hospital.

100% of money I raise will be allocated directly to upgrade the Burns Unit - every cent donated to the Hospital Trust will directly benefit the Hospital.

Ultimately, the purpose of this project is to raise funds for an extremely deserving cause. I have given a personal guarantee to match the amount I must raise in sponsorships in the form of financial donations to the Trust.

I am very excited about being able to make a difference and sincerely hope you will be able to come on board with me in helping to get other sick children back home where they belong!

This is how you can get involved....


If you have a skill that you would like to 'donate' instead of money, this slot is for you.

I will create an event around what you have to offer and 100% of what people pay to attend will be donated to the hospital.

The hair spa day held in March at the Wayne.com salon at the One and Only Hotel is an example of such an event. We were able to raise R5250 on that day.


Kilimanjaro is 5895m high. You can decide to pledge a certain amount per meter that I climb. You can email your pledges to me at: ferreira@netpoint.co.za OR you can download a pledge page from the section on the right of this page and fax it to me.

If you can't pledge yourself, how about getting your company to pledge and to perhaps even challenge other companies to match or better their pledge!!


On the right hand side of the blog, near the top, there is a section that includes a direct link to the hospital's website.

Read all the directions before clicking on the link, it is important for the hospital to be able to allocate your donation correctly.

The hospital trust will issue a tax certificate for any donation over R100, so that's an extra bonus for both individuals and companies!


I am currently collecting goods to offer on an auction to be held later this year - anything that we can turn into money is welcome!

Just to give you a sample of some of the things we have at this stage: three TOP NOTCH bottles of South African wines, compliments of Janet Malherbe, and five signed copies of a book written by the adventurer and master fundraiser David Grier!

For more info on David: http://www.davidgrier.co.za/

I'd love to be able to offer nights away at wonderful places in our country, romantic dinners at special restaurants etc. So if you have any connections or have something that you can offer yourself, I'd love to hear from you!

Just to make double sure you have my contact details - here it is again: ferreira@netpoint.co.za

Tristan enjoying being a healthy, happy little boy!

my blog entries

Will try and update on a regular basis!! :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Back at the hotel...

Wow - what a relief to have been able to sleep in a proper bed again! We got back to the hotel after a 3 hour walk from our camp yesterday just before lunchtime. We will be leaving to the airport in a couple of hours, we have a LONG travel day ahead of us.

If all goes as planned I will be in Johannesburg at 23h50 tonight (!!!) and my flight to Cape Town leaves at 9am. Needless to say, I am going to try and get myself booked on an earlier flight.

Sense of humour still prevails, so we'll tackle the day with a smile!

I am SO tired, I think I can easily sleep for a couple of days straight right now. This has been the most difficult thing I have EVER done in my life. I have pushed myself further than I ever thought I would, both mentally and physically and I have to say, this has been a journey of self discovery that has taken me by surprise.

When you are put in a situation where you have to search deep within yourself to achieve what we've just done, it is really surprising to discover what you are capable of!

One thing I will say, if anyone ever tells you that climbing Kilimanjaro is a walk in the park - well, don't do business with them unless they show you the certificate proving that they've actually done it!

I actually fell asleep on my feet more than once during the final part of the summit climb, I imagined rock faces closing in on me where there were actually just empty spaces - I can honestly say that this experience has taken my mind and body to heights that I never imagined I would go to!!

Thanks to Ryan for updating the blog while we were climbing! Incredible that there is Vodacom reception on spots all over the mountain!

Once I'm back in the real world I'll post details of the climb with photographs. A BIG thank you for all the wonderful wishes and messages I received, even while on the mountain, you have no idea how mush it helped to lift my spirits!

So, if you're reading this and would still love to join me in helping to get the Burns Unit at the Red Cross upgraded, now's your chance to join all of those who pledged money in support of the climb! All the instructions are further up on the blog.

THANK YOU so much for your support! :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Almost There

Summit beckoning:

Blow the summit...

Just arrived at final camp before summit after 9 hr hike!  This was HARD!!  Extremely tired but hoping to have a few hrs sleep after supper. We start summit climb at midnight tonight, 11pm SA time. 6 hour climb to summit. Windy and ice cold in camp, -4 deg celsius. Wish me luck!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

4500m and climbing..


Just made it to 4500m!! Feeling better, other girls also ok. We have a 6hr climb tomorrow, start the summit climb midnight tomorrow! 6 people from another group already turned back!  Wish us luck, this is a tough but amazing experience! Love to all!! xxx

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hello from 3400m

Latest update:

Having lunch at 3400m! Camping at 3600m. Hardest thing I've ever done in my life! Suffering from altitude sickness! Never want last night over, nauseous, headache and claustrophobic! Not giving up unless I HAVE to. Love you all LOTS! xxx

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

We've arrived!!

After all the planning we're finally here! We travelled the entire day and to say we are bushed is putting it mildly!

All our bags arrived, thank goodness!! We've just had a lovely dinner at the hotel, now we have to repack all our bags so that the porter has exactly 12kg to carry and the same for each one of us. Luckily we can leave some clothes at the hotel for when we get back, so hopefully my load will become lighter!

We saw the top of Kili above the clouds from the plane, spectacular! I can't believe we'll finally be walking on the mountain tomorrow morning...

The tour operator is meeting us after breakfast for a briefing, then we have a one hour drive to the gate where the walk starts.

I am going to attempt to send my son updates if and when we get reception on the mountain and he will post anything I send on the blog. If nothing new appears, there was no reception. So let's hold thumbs!

The three of us are in good spirits and we've already met some other climbers, some doing our route, some venturing off in different directions. The overall feeling is the same though, loads of anticipation and lots of fragile nerves!!

Anyway, wish us luck! The adventure truly begins from here on!! :)


Monday, July 19, 2010

2 more sleeps!!


It's after 11pm on the second last night before my departure and I am done for the day!! Most of my things are now actually in one place ready to be packed into the two bags I'm taking - my daypack that I'll carry on my back and the extra duffel bag for my porter. I'm allowed 12kg in each bag - not sure how I'm going to stick to that one at this stage!! Downstairs on the kitchen counter a whole supermarket of snacks, medical supplies and wetwipes awaits...

Thank goodness I'll be picking up the sleeping bag at the hotel, so I don't have to carry that along as well!

I thought I'd post pictures of what I thought was the good, the bad and the ugly (at this stage anyway!).

The good!

Well... The Bad.

I had a host of things that I was going to put in this spot but after typing and deleting for about ten minutes I decided that I won't allow myself to see anything as bad at this stage. What would have been bad is if I had lost my sense of humour, and I assure you, I have no intention of losing that one!!


The ugly

Sorry Crocs manufacturers, I really do think these are the most unflattering shoes. It was however a team decision that we would take them up to wear (with three layers of socks!) at night in the camp. They're light and comfy and will probably find a new home at the bottom of Kili at the end of the trip!

And that's that for tonight - final post from my warm, comfortable chair tomorrow evening! 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

3 sleeps to go!

If you have to ask me what the best tip is that I can possibly give you at this stage of my planning for the big climb, I'd simply say: DO NOT WAIT UNTIL THE LAST WEEK TO BUY WHAT YOU THINK ARE THE BASICS!!

I spent hours in the mall yesterday searching for the correct socks, gloves, survival blanket, bottle covers etc. It seems as if Kili is going to be a busy place this month as all shop assistants blame the lack of stock on perspective Kili climbers raiding their stores!

So now I still don't have the correct gloves and only half of my socks but I guess tomorrow is another day. Arming myself with a very detailed shopping list before going shopping tomorrow is going to be essential, I really don't want to waste valuable time running from shop to shop.

I really thought one becomes more organised as you get older but alas, I feel a bit like a chicken without a head at the moment...

On the positive side, I have bought myself a little Olympus U tough 3000 camera to take along on the climb. It is made to be used in harsh conditions, can withstand -10 degrees celsius, will survive a fall of 1,5m and can be used underwater. I'm taking two extra (lithium) batteries, so hopefully I will be able to take all the shots that I am hoping to get. The most important one of course of the three of us on top!!

My friends at Remax Table View, who are doing a great job in creating awareness of the project in my local area, have asked if I will take a flag along to the top, so watch this space!! This journey is bringing me so much closer to the people who live and work in my community, positive spin-off's all round!

The most important thing of course is to get everybody on board to help make a difference to a hospital that is so important to this city of ours.

Wish me luck - hopefully I am more organised by tomorrow evening when I hope to post some pictures of the big packing adventure! (I hope someone told our porters there are three women in the group - there's no way I'm going to be able to stick to my weight limit!!) :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

6 days to go!!

I feel as if I'm dreaming at this stage! The days are simply flying by and I am starting to wonder what on earth I've signed up for. Every time I look out of my window at Table Mountain it seems higher and more scary than ever!

I've never thought of Table Mountain as being scary before, so I really am starting to worry a little...

Well at this stage I can't actually afford to dwell on the things that I'm afraid of, so we won't talk about altitude sickness, scary heights, below freezing temperatures, hard sleeping surfaces or long drops! Instead I'm going to imagine myself (once again) standing on top of the world with a big smile and a tall, ice-cold glass of shandy waiting for me down below.

This was also my birthday week and we went to Knysna for two glorious nights. What a special part of the world, I can't wait to start exploring the incredible hiking routes there, now that the bug has bitten me!

My friend Jonathan brought me his special sleeping bag today, I'm sitting in in right now to see if it's going to be warm enough. My husband suggested that I pitch a tent in the garden tonight and try it out for real - I suppose that's not a bad idea!

Tomorrow I'm going to do some of my final shopping - hand warmers, gloves, water purification tablets, socks, etc., the list seems never ending! Thank goodness for friends who have produced gear bought for trips taken years ago - bags, gaiters, sleeping bag inners and pants to name but a few!

On a lighter note, I kept snapping away from inside the car yesterday as we drove back from Knysna. Here are a few of the amazing scenes that rolled past my window and no, it's definitely not Kili yet, even though you'll be excused if you had to ask! The mountains are covered in snow - I won't be surprised if they start offering ski holidays on the Garden Route in the near future!

Taken on the R62

Just before Robertson - I'm taking this to be a real good luck omen!

Truly dramatic - we went from a sunny Knysna to a cold and wet Cape Town in a couple of hours.

Pretty similar to how the Kilimanjaro experience is going to be I suppose! I can't wait to post pictures of the amazing rain forest, the almost moon like landscapes higher up and then finally, the snow covered peaks at the top of Kili. Not sure how I'm going to sleep the next couple of nights!

Here's hoping loads of people will come on board in support of  the hospital in this last week before the climb!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

10 Days to go!!!!

The countdown has begun! Ten days before the big day - I can't believe how the time has flown!
This has been a busy week, Tristan turned two on Friday and it's my dad's birthday today. So we had loads of celebrating at our house this weekend - I have definitely done my bit to fatten up for the big climb these last two days! I've also done a bit of shopping, slowly but surely my Kili supplies are stacking up. On Friday I went for my yellow fever shot, thank goodness that's out of the way! I also decided to get malaria tablets. I'm not keen on them as I want to take as little medication as possible, other than the altitude sickness tablets. However, I decided that taking a chance with malaria is simply not worth it.

Here are some of the goodies I added to my stock this weekend....

My cholera and yellow fever certificates - valid for 10 years, thank goodness; headlamp; Diamox for altitude sickness; malaria tablets; fleece top and Kili waterbottles.

The waterbottles survived being thrown down Table Mountain, so hopefully they'll work well on Kilimanjaro. I debated quite a bit about how much I wanted to spend on a headlamp but finally decided to go for a Petzl with multifunctions - a little more expensive but I think that this is one piece of equipment that you can spend some money on. After reading some of the accounts of the summit night on our route, I want to be sure I can see as much as I can! As we summit at midnight, it will be essential to have a good headlamp. It should be full moon on the night that we attempt that final stretch, hopefully it will be a clear, beautiful night!

As for the weekend celebrations, my little grandson is now two, it feels like yesterday that we were all eagerly waiting to meet him for the first time! We had a BUSY morning with a house full of little ones running around!

This is MY day!

Tristan is in his 'car' phase, so his mom and dad chose to have this as the theme for his party - this is one car that didn't last long!

Posing is hard work!

As for the hiking this week - Thursday was my last day on the mountain. From now on I plan to focus my training in the gym. I think my legs need to rest a little now, so I'm going to just stick to a comfortable pace these last ten days. On Thursday we hiked up Table Mountain from the Camps Bay side. It was a glorious day and the view of Camps Bay and Lions Head was spectacular. We met loads of people on the way, when the the sun is out in Cape Town more and more people seem to be heading up the mountain!

Here are some of our pics, some taken by Jean, one of my fellow hikers. Thanks Jean!

Can't beat this view!

Denise, Irene, Stefani, David and I

Maclear's Beacon, the highest point on Table Mountain. I guess that's as high as  I've been then! 5895m seems really scary at this point!

Just another winter's day in Cape Town!

And finally - soccer fever is still very much alive in our city. I spotted this little guy playing with his soccer ball at Greenmarket Square and just couldn't resist taking about a million pictures of him!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Soccer fever!

Our little Abigail supporting her team!

Portugal never made it, but who cares! Abbey the Yorkie knows where her bread is buttered. As our home supports Portugal and South Africa, she's playing the part!

Whether you wanted to be a part of the world cup or not, South Africa is in the grip of soccer fever and even though I resisted the flag-on-the-car bit, I couldn't resist this little winter warmer for little Abs.

There is such a positive vibe in our country right now, I really hope that we retain a huge amount of that once all the soccer hype is something of the past. How wonderful to be bombarded with positive, funny and lighthearted news on a daily basis - we certainly can do with it!

I am quite proud of myself today, I spent time in the gym this morning and even tried out new equipment - I really am pretty serious about getting fit - only 17 days to go now!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Window to the word!

Our group at Irvin Rock yesterday

If you've never hiked with a group of people, let me tell you, you are missing out! Today I'm back in the real world and reflecting on the day I had yesterday I'm just so aware of how special these days on the the mountain have become to me.

I have met a whole group of new people and whilst walking we have covered every topic under the sun! From dishwashing liquid to global warming to politics - opinions abound!

Do you know (for example) where the saying, 'don't throw the baby out with the bath water' comes from? Well, Jimmy, our Scottish friend who walked with yesterday, had a wealth of information and this is what he came up with. In the early days, when people didn't bath that often, when it was decided it was time to have a wash, the entire family would bath in the same tub of water. The father would go first, then the mother and then the kids. By the time it was the baby's turn, the water must've been pretty murky. So when throwing the dirty water out, one had to make sure you didn't throw the clean baby out as well!

Therefore: throwing the baby out with the bath water is an expression that suggests one doesn’t need to reject an entire idea, concept or practice if only part of it is good. The baby, in this sense, represents the good part. The bath water, on the other hand, is usually dirty after the baby is washed and needs to be discarded.

David, on the other hand, educated us on the habit of Chinese rulers of old who collected massive rocks from all over the world and displayed it in their gardens and also elaborated on Zen philosophy. I heard for the first time how in years gone by a bell would be placed above coffins so that people could alarm others that they were in fact still alive - imagine that! Seeing that they don't do this anymore, I wonder, is it a good idea to insist that you get buried with your cellphone today? :)

Stefani has tackled the task of learning how to speak Afrikaans and it is a pleasure to share the knowledge of your mother tongue with someone who is so excited about learning! Stefani is already fluent in German and English - she has definitely inspired me to tackle Portuguese next year. After almost 29 years of marriage to a Portuguese citizien, it's probably about time!

Denise, the youngest member of our group yesterday, knows what she likes and does not like in life. Anyone who can figure out as a child that arranging peas (that you hate eating) around your plate and deflecting your mom's attention from the fact that you're not eating your food by telling her this is your 'green peas movement', is going places! 

As for our leader, and that she is indeed, I will follow her on any trail, no matter what. Irene knows our mountains like the back of her hand. When it seems as if there is no path, she manages to track it down, overgrown or improvised - she always leads you in the right direction. It is indeed special to be guided by someone who has such great knowledge of the routes, origins and history of everything on our mountains.

Yesterday I saw the smallest protea in existence for the first time, heard a rock hit an invisible pool of water in a disbanded old manganese mine and enjoyed my lunch under a rock looking down on the city of my childhood.

Now if that isn't something special, then I don't know what is.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Winter in Cape Town is not half bad!

Looking down on the Muizenberg beach

A Button Spider - beautiful to look at but you don't want to get too close!

Stefani and I  - proof that we were there!!

Winter in Cape Town is a breeze. Well, most of the time anyway... Today was just the most beautiful day in our city and to have been able to hike to the Muizenberg cave from Silvermine was spectacular. School holidays ensured that traffic was not a problem and we could even lie in an extra 15 minutes this morning!

We had a great day on the mountain with hardly a breeze. I can't remember when last the sea looked as smooth as it did today, we were even able to see shoals of fish from the top! The world cup visitors were out in full force as well, we met up with a guy from Ireland who was out for a stroll on the mountain and judging from the multitude of accents we heard, he certainly wasn't alone.

I had to ask myself how many of our locals have actually been up the mountain.... If you're one of them - put on those boots, pack some lunch and get out there - it is spectacular!

Being out there in the wonderful setting with great company and enjoying it all in excellent health just made me think of all the little one's in the ward at the hospital this very day. How many sad stories are unfolding at this very minute, scars that might never heal, eyes that may never see again - lives that are changed forever!

How fortunate we are. I'd like to urge you to pass on the details of this blog to as many people as you can. I invite you to join me in this effort to raise funds for such an important place in our city. Our children truly are the most precious members of our society - lets ensure they are taken care of as best as we possibly can!

Reflections in False Bay - what a privilege!