Trainer pulls his weight to help African orphans

Lee Harrison carries two 15kg weights up a mountain to raise funds for African orphans.

A personal trainer has gone the extra mile to raise money and awareness for orphans in Africa by hiking one of United Arab Emirates’ tallest mountains.

Lee Harrison tackled the 12km road up Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain as part of a fundraising campaign that will see the Abu Dhabi-based Brit complete a series of gruelling physical challenges.

The 4 hour 45 minute walk raised almost $6000 for the Purpose Uganda Babies Home in Entebbe, Uganda, which Lee visited in January.

But the Roar Fitness trainer made each of those minutes feel longer by carrying two 15kg barbells in what is called a farmer’s carry.

Temperatures of 33C and constantly gripping the weights caused painful swelling in Lee’s hands.

Lee’s biggest challenge was tightness in his upper body from the pull of the weights.

“The hardest thing was dealing with the pain in my shoulders and neck, which set in around the 1.5 hour mark,” he said.

An intensive 8-week training schedule involving walking on a high inclined treadmill with heavy weights had the 35-year-old in good shape to complete the challenge, but the 1200 metre elevation still took its toll.

“When I got to the top I felt absolutely exhausted, and had pains and cramps all over, but a pleasant feeling of achievement,” he said.

During the walk friends offered support and help with food and water.

One friend, Katie Lewis, said she tried to cheer Lee on to take his mind off the physical pain.

“I think it is great that Lee went to this orphanage and was inspired to help these kids in need,” she said.

“Investing in a child’s future is always a great cause.”

13256115_1687271508203224_3233118139306260862_nThe founder and director of the Purpose Uganda Babies Home, Kimera Remmie Susan, said the funds would make a huge difference to daily life at the orphanage (pictured).

“It will help train staff, equip the orphanage and buy things like medicine, diapers and milk,” she said.

“We feel so honoured and humbled by Lee’s selfless act of kindness. Without his support, life would be so difficult for us.”

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