Durban men to walk 550km across India to raise funds for hospice
Durban - TWO men who conquered death now walk for those who cannot. Both are survivors - one of a botched robbery and the other of cancer.
They created the “Walk of Life” to raise funds for the Chatsworth Hospice, which is based in Silverglen.
On Saturday, Bala Gangiah, 58, and Jay Moodley, 51, will walk from the east to the west coast of India, a distance spanning 550km. They will walk from Pondicherry to Kochi.
Gangiah approached Moodley in August with the idea. Money can be donated for every kilometre they walk or whatever an individual can afford.
The hospice was established in 1991 to provide holistic palliative care to patients suffering from cancer, HIV and chronic diseases.
Gangiah said: “The hospice is a support system for family and friends of the sickly, helping them to cope and manage the sickness. All services are free of charge and it has no state funding. It is supported by individuals, companies, organisations and fundraising initiatives.”
Formerly of Stanger, Gangiah lost a kidney to cancer last year and is now in remission. The men will walk 25km a day to ensure Gangiah does not put too much pressure on his kidney.
“I can’t do more than 25km a day because my body would not be able to cope. But, that distance is still half a marathon.”
This would not be the first test of endurance for the father of two since his illness. He has completed a 150km trek to Mount Everest’s Base Camp and summited Mount Kilimanjaro, six months after he lost his kidney.
Earlier in life, he completed over 20 marathons and five ultra-marathons, including the Comrades.
“Instead of sinking into depression, the cancer diagnosis turned out to be my greatest motivator. When something likes this happens to you, you are in shock and you begin to realise the real meaning of life itself.”
Last year Moodley relocated from Chatsworth to Bangalore, South India,
He lives there with his wife, 17-year-old daughter and 16-year-old son.
While living in South Africa, he was shot three times and left for dead in a robbery. It was unclear if Moodley would live, let alone walk again, but he pulled through.
“I left because we needed change, for myself, my wife and babies. I loved everything about India. It was the best decision for the safety of my family. I have no regret but I must confess, I do miss my family and friends in South Africa.”
He said he had always been an avid sportsman and strived to live healthily.
“I have been active in junior development and coaching soccer and golf. I have also participated in many marathons, half marathons and ultras, including the Comrades, Two Oceans and Tata Mumbai.
“I have dedicated a larger part of my life helping those striving to survive and be active.”
For information, call the hospice manager, Shanno Enoch, at 0639935496.