Trading extremes to build a clinic for people in need
Schaumburg is struggling. Comprised of around 1 200 shacks that house an average of six people each, the Gauteng township faces a multitude of problems, including unemployment and minimal access to water.
But what worries adventurer-philanthropist Lee Den Hond most is healthcare, and she’s willing to put her own health at risk to help.
An experienced endurance athlete who has completed multiple Ironman triathlons and Comrades Marathons, Den Hond is driven to use sport to impact people’s lives. In 2013, she became the third South African woman to summit Mount Everest, raising funds to assist child-headed families.
Trading extremes, her next challenge will see her drop the high-altitude gear in favour of running shoes, as she sets out to traverse the Sahara desert in an effort to raise support for Schaumburg. The area’s nearest clinic and hospital are 20 and 50 kilometers away respectively, with monthly visits from a mobile clinic providing the community’s only form of medical assistance.
Through her monumental run, Den Hond aims to raise enough to build a permanent clinic. Now famous for having carried a South African flag to the top of the world’s highest mountain, signed by the children for whom she was climbing, she will take the very same flag on her journey through the desert.
Aside from delivering immediate relief to people who desperately need it, Den Hond puts her body on the line to conquer our planet’s harshest environments to inspire others. She hopes that her victories over her physical limits motivate others to take on the mountains and endure the deserts in their own lives.
• This article was originally published in the Beautiful News.