Long-time Special Olympics supporter and global adventurer, Michael Dee is back at it again. Last year he crossed the Atacama Desert raising funds to send the 46-member Special Olympics Singapore team to this year’s World Games.
This time around, he takes on an uphill task, literally, as he climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa, to raise awareness of the capabilities of people with intellectual disabilities.
Joining him are two Special Olympics Athletes, Herith Suleiman from Tanzania and Salihin Bin Sinai from Singapore. It is the first time that Special Olympics athletes from these countries are attempting this climb. Michael’s three teenage sons, Matthew, Christopher and David, who currently live in Singapore are also part of the expedition team.
Michael and his sons had a vision of a Special Olympics athlete on the top of Kilimanjaro that would be an inspiration for Special Olympics athletes across the globe and for people around the world to change their attitudes towards people with an intellectual disability.
With this climb, Michael wants to “show the world that the intellectually disabled can achieve amazing things and are worthy of society’s acceptance and support.”
Both SO athletes are physically prepared for this endeavor. Herith Suleiman is a keen sportsman who excelled through his participation in Special Olympics, winning gold in two World Games.
Singapore’s Salihin Bin Sinai has been involved in Special Olympics for over 10 years. In his participation in two World Summer Games Salihin has won 1 Gold, 1 Silver, and 1 Bronze for Swimming, and another 2 Bronze medals for Badminton.
An athlete with great stamina and tenacity, 24-year-old Salihin was identified by Michael as a candidate for the Kilimanjaro climb while training together for the 2011 World Games Marathon event.
Michael believes Salihin’s “calm demeanor and steady determination made him a perfect athlete to join our trek to the top of Kilimanjaro.”
The gruelling ascent will test the team’s stamina and determination with the altitude at over 19,000 feet above sea level. Apart from low temperatures and high winds, climbers will experience nausea, headaches and shortage of breath.
The climb kicks off on 8 June. The team aims to complete the climb by 15 June.
You can listen to Michael’s radio interview in Singapore here
Follow the team’s progress here
To make a donation to support the team, visit here