Though I have made financial contributions to many venerable causes over the years, I never got behind any charitable cause — but, in the honor of my mother, I plan to climb Mount Kilimanjaro on August 19th, 2019 to raise funds to help support people who are afflicted by mental health. I seek your support — to bring awareness and to help fight against this debilitating health issue that Tamils have for far too long ignored as a community. Mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary once noted, “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.” Let’s help those who are afflicted by this dreadful condition. They deserve our support to help them fight their daily battles by conquering themselves.
For decades, I watched my mother struggle with deep depression and paranoid schizophrenia, to the point of suicidal ideations. I felt as though she was shackled and caged in her own brain, without knowing if a key existed to escape her situation — which tormented her immensely until her last breath on March 27, 2018. My mother is no longer, and she has been relieved of all her anguish — but, for millions of Canadians, this suffering is still an ongoing reality. For them, overcoming their mental illness can feel like climbing a mountain. Along with my wife Sue, our son Aaron and our friends the Urbankys — Darie, Alex, Matthew and Ethan, we want to let those who are fighting mental illnesses — the unwavering warriors — know that they can conquer their own mountains.
Together, we are mountaineering for mental health by climbing 19,340 feet to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in August 2019. We aim to raise awareness and fight to shatter the stigma surrounding mental illness, by helping people to overcome their fear of it. Those who struggle with mental health obstacles are often reluctant to seek help due to the nature of this stigma, and just as tragically, some people who are mentally ill are far more likely to be ignored by their own family and friends. We want to help destigmatize mental health issues.
In collaboration with Canadian Tamil Medical Association (CTMA), we aim to raise funds to help identify and deliver mental health programs in the GTA. We encourage you to generously donate towards the fight against this debilitating health issue that we have for far too long ignored as a community. At the very least, it is vital that we show some empathy for those who struggle and that we take the time to say a few kind words to those who truly need to hear them. Such gestures can be a symbol of a welcome shift in how we support those who struggle with mental health every day. Conquering our personal mountains is something we all battle with in our daily lives, and we want people with mental illness to see that it is possible to overcome their struggles.