BY SHEENA MCSTRAVICK
FIRST it was trekking through the Rainforest in Brazil over five days and now a Dungannon restaurant worker is undertaking his biggest challenge yet...climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
Nani Oliveira, works in the Deli on the Green in the Linen Green, Moygashel and is preparing to climb the world’s highest free standing mountain all in the name of charity.
The 38-year old who is originally from Portugal but has been living in Ireland for the past 20 years is climbing the mountain to raise money for Action Cancer.
Nani told the TIMES that he is really looking forward to the challenge which he is undertaking on 3rd July and hopes to surpass his last fundraising efforts.
He said: “I did a trek through the Rainforest in Brazil five years ago for Action Cancer and I raised over £3000 that time. I’m hoping this time to raise even more and hopefully get £4000 for the charity, I’ve raised over £2,500 already.”
Nani said he chose Action Cancer as he believes they do great work in helping cancer patients and their families in Northern Ireland, “I’ve been lucky enough not to lose someone really close to me through cancer but I like Action Cancer because they spend all the money raised in Northern Ireland. I know it sounds a wee bit selfish but at the same time you’re helping your neighbours, your friends and family. I’ve worked in restaurants all my life and I have seen a lot of customers you know over the years, getting older and becoming affected by cancer, so I wanted to help the charity. They’re all good charities it’s hard to pick just one.”
Climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is no easy feat, as one of the world’s largest volcanoes ever to break through the Earth’s crust it stands at a mammoth 5,895m high.
Nani is doing the climb through a London based organisation called Charity Challenge who are best known for co-ordinating the celebrity climb of Kilimanjaro in 2009 for Comic Relief that the likes of Cheryl Cole, Ronan Keating and Gary Barlow took part in.
The climb itself is set to take around twelve days and Nani will be doing it with a small group of around 7 other people whom he has never met before.
Speaking about his preparation for such an enduring challenge, Nani told the TIMES that he was undergoing some training in an attempt to prepare for the climb.
He said: “In preparation, the organisation Charity Challenge have given me loads of information so that I know what I’m facing. I’m also doing altitude training as well in a gym just outside Armagh. It involves a fitness bike but you have to wear like an oxygen mask which makes it more difficult, just as it will be with the high altitudes as I climb the mountain.
“You don’t know how your body is going to react with the altitude and everything but I’ve been told I’m fit enough to go. I’ve also started to go to the Mourne Mountains on a Sunday for a few hours to try and prepare a little even though Kilimanjaro will be much higher.”
Nani said he could not have had even attempted this challenge without the great support of his loving family and friends, “I couldn’t do this challenge without the support of my family, my son Kaelin, my stepdaughter Niamh, my twin boys Patrick and Oisin and especially my wife Briege.”
Nani has held a few fundraising events already to raise money for Action Cancer. He recently held a night at his workplace the Deli on the Green where the manager allowed him the restaurant on the night for free, and the staff also worked for free. They offered a four course meal for £20 and I raised £1345 that night which was brilliant. I also held a Night at the Races in Lurgan which was also a great success.”
If you would like to support Nani in his latest challenge and donate to his Action Cancer just giving page you can do so by logging on to www.justgiving.com/NaniKilimanjaro