“Your are wise to climb Fuji once & a fool to climb it twice”, so goes the old Japanese saying. Well, in my time here in Japan I’ve climbed Mt Fuji once, on a photography portrait assignment for The Times newspaper. But tomorrow, I aim to climb the 3,776 metre mountain a second time, for charity (You can donate here via this link, it is all very safe and easy and secure, Uphill Challenge on Mount Fuji) .
Some people ask me “why ?”. Well, why not ? It’s there, I’m privileged to have a home in a location where, on a clear day, I can see the mountain from my sofa, or from rooftop garden. Fuji-san is always there, I always photograph it on clear days. I’ve passed the mountain many times as I traverse the length of this country on the shinkansen bullet trains. The mountain has a perfect shape, it’s how a kid would draw an imaginary mountain. And I like a challenge. It’s good to test yourself, do things outside your normal routine.
Tomorrow, I will climb it with two friends, Greg McNevin with whom I work, and also Byron Kidd, who was my marathon running training partner when we both did the Tokyo Marathon a year or two back. We’ve decided to climb the mountain one day before the climbing season officially begins (we have some personal time constraints), and at the same time we thought we’d give ourselves a second challenge of trying to raise a little sponsorship money for Sightsavers charity.
I choose Sightsavers for quite obvious reasons. I’m a photographer, I need my eyes, I value my sight, and I value the rich experiences I’ve had in life brought to me by my ability to somewhat look through a camera and take images that others find merit in. I’ve been lucky. But not everyone is blessed with good eyesight, and that is where Sightsavers come in. They are an international charity who work with partners in the developing world to eliminate avoidable blindness and promote equality of opportunity for disabled people. To me that is a cause worth supporting. I like to think many photographers would see the merit in supporting such a cause.
This is the third time I’ve tried to raise a little money for Sightsavers, previously I used my running races as opportunities to fundraise, and many of you readers, family and friends have already donated and donated generously. And Sightsavers themselves are a decent bunch to raise money for, they know their manners, they’re polite and helpful to those raising money for them. They make it enjoyable to fundraise for them.
So, hence I climb Fuji tomorrow with friends, hence I’ll try to raise a little more money. I appreciate times are hard, economies are suffering, photography budgets are being slashed and we’re all not getting as many assignments as we’d like. Times are tough, no doubt about it. But I try to always remember that no matter how tough it is for me, there are others in this world who have it much, much tougher. I can’t imagine being in the developing world, having an eyesight disease that for the sake of a few pounds/dollars/yen could be cured, and whilst having that disease I need to gain an education or support my family, can you ? That would be tough, that makes my life look very comfortable in comparison.
So friends, readers, if you’re still with me, how about you help me a little ? Can you spare the price of a coffee, or forgo that one extra beer tonight on Friday evening and donate the few dollars to give a kid the chance of having their eyesight saved? Five pounds, or $8, can make a difference. For example, Trachoma is an infectious eye disease which affects millions of people in Africa and Asia today. Repeated infections scar the eyelids and lead to trichiasis. This is where the eyelids turn inwards and the eyelashes scrape against the surface of the eye causing incredible pain. It can eventually lead to permanent blindness. Your small donation, and it only has to be small, can provide an operation to stop the pain and prevent blindness for someone – before it is too late. How great would that be ?
If you can help it’d be much appreciated by me, my climbing friends Greg and Byron, Sightsavers charity, but most importantly by the person who recieves the gift of sight from you.
You can donate here via this link, it is all very safe and easy and secure, Uphill Challenge on Mount Fuji.
Thanks for your time, and for reading. See you at the summit tomorrow…