MALAYSIA, PETALING JAYA: Come April, Melvin Tong will climb a mountain for the first time in his life - with crutches. The 25-year-old, who lost his right leg to a cancerous tumour eight years ago, sees it as doing his part to fight child abuse.
"It's very sad to read again and again in the news about child abuse. I feel that I need to do more about it and decided to take up the challenge," Tong said at the Shelter Home office yesterday.
The challenge will see volunteers climb Mount Kinabalu to raise awareness and funds for child protection advocacy work.
Tong, a car dealer, added that he was upset when he read about 18-month-old K. Hareswarra who died from alleged abuse.
Tong, who loves children, said he visited neglected and abused children at Rumah Hope once or twice every month to spend time with them.
A good cause: Tong being accompanied by James at the Shelter Home yesterday.
"The Shelter climb for charity is a way for me to show support for abused children and I am still looking for friends to join me," said Tong, who has started hiking up steep hills besides doing his regular gym workouts and swimming as part of his training for the climb.
He has managed to raise US$100 (RM340) while researching online on how he could participate in outdoor activities, and on suitable crutches for hiking on different terrain.
Tong has also ordered a set of crutches costing RM5,000 for his climb since regular ones are not suitable for hiking.
Shelter Home executive director James Nayagam said the organisation was looking for 46 people to join the climb from April 18 to 21.
For more information, log on to www.shelterhome.org or call 03-7955-0663 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In Kuala Terengganu, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said those with reservations to lodge police reports over suspected child abuse could contact the ministry's Talian Nur at 15999.
-The Star/Asia News Network