Mark Morley is an Australian diplomat based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. In August, Mark and his friends are taking on the challenge to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa. Mark, along with several of his friends are keen to raise money for JDRF after his two year old Jemima was diagnosed in late 2014.
“I’m keen to both raise money for type 1 diabetes, and to do something practical, to show Jemima over her lifetime that we support her in her journey with the disease.”
Mark’s daughter Jemima is the driving force behind his mission; however he also wants raise awareness for those living with the disease in the developing world. Having lived in Syria, Egypt and India through his diplomacy work, Mark knows that type 1 diabetes can significantly affect the standard of living and life expectancy of children in these countries.
“As an expat father of a child with diabetes, I am interested in not only the roll out of access to healthcare and diabetes education in the developing world; I would like to see a cure for my little girl”.
Starting next year Mark would like to take Jemima and her older sister Leah on regular trips to India, Southern Africa and to the Middle East to volunteer with type 1 diabetes charities in those regions. “It’s critical for Jemima to understand that she is not alone in her disease and that we can turn type 1 diabetes into something tremendously positive.”
Has Mark been training furiously for his impending climb? “I would really like to say that I have been training hard, but I’d be lying! I’ve been running when I can, walking occasionally, and concentrating on cutting out drinking. We have also just holidayed in Georgia, Central Asia, and there was a lot of climbing around with children on my shoulders! It gets to 54 degrees here in Riyadh during the summer, so it’s not particularly an easy place to get fit”.
Most of his preparation has been focused on administration, contacting media outlets in the Middle East and getting flight sponsorship to maximise the amount that they raise. The team has a personal goal to fundraise $10,000; however they would be very happy if they could reach up to $20,000!