Illawarra Cancer Care Centre specialists Ali Tafreshi and Roshi Arasi will climb outside their comfort zone to ensure better treatment and outcomes for their patients.
Next month the married couple will ascend Mt Kilimanjaro (5895m) to raise awareness of gastro-intestinal, or GI, cancer.
Mr Tafreshi, a medical oncologist, and Ms Arasi, an oncology pharmacist, witness daily the challenges faced by patients with GI cancer.
‘’It’s a cause close to our hearts as we see a lot of patients with GI cancer, which can affect the oesophagus, stomach, gall bladder, liver, pancreas and bowel,’’ Mr Tafreshi said.
‘’When we got a message from the GI Cancer Institute that they were looking for volunteers for this challenge, then we thought it was a great thing we could do together.
‘’The funds we raise will help the institute with their research into better ways to treat GI cancer, extend people’s lives and improve the quality of their lives.’’
The couple will be part of a 14-strong team which has already raised more than $100,000 for the cause.
They will jet off in three weeks, with the climb to take place from November 3 to 10.
While reasonably fit, Mr Tafreshi said he and his wife had never attempted a challenge of this magnitude.
‘’We’re not really climbers,’’ he said.
‘’Over the past couple of months we’ve been taking the opportunity to climb at every opportunity – up Mt Keira, Mt Kembla and Sublime Point at Austinmer.
‘’It’s going to be tough but it’s nothing compared to what cancer patients go through.’’
Ms Arasi said she was looking forward to the climb.
“Ali and I decided to participate together in this gutsy challenge because it’s such a great cause and to motivate and support each other,’’ she said.
‘’We are very fortunate to be able to experience such an amazing event in our lives together.’’
GI cancer is the most common form of cancer in Australia, with over 24,000 people affected each year.
The five-year survival rate is only 49 per cent, compared to breast cancer that has a survival rate of 90 per cent.
To donate, go to gckilimanjaro.everydayhero.com/au/Roshi or gckilimanjaro.everydayhero.com/au/ali