Rotarian Ken Hutt is still planning to ‘jump’ off Mount Everest in his paraglider to raise money for The Rotary Foundation’s End Polio Now campaign.
A member of the Rotary Club of Berry, NSW, Ken has a history with the highest mountain in the world, having led an expedition there to support the polio eradication campaign in 2018.
That adventure created plenty of interest and raised $60,000 for polio – which was duly matched by the Gates Foundation (2:1) for a final total of $180,000!
An experienced paraglider, Ken and his team are not letting grass grow under their feet and are ready to go again as soon as approval is received from the Nepal Government. Nepali Rotarian and Ken’s assisting agent Tilak Thapar is working with the new government minister to progress arrangements.
Climbing activity on Mount Everest has been limited in recent times due to COVID-19 restrictions in various countries and Nepal’s strict quarantine conditions.
“Ken and his team are not letting grass grow under their feet and are ready to go again as soon as approval is received from the Nepal Government.”
Ken’s project received excellent coverage by way of a special ABC television feature in January. He has the support of the Australian Embassy in Kathmandu. The necessary flight plan from the summit is in order, and he has provided background information on polio eradication and Rotary International, along with several letters of reference.
Media advertising has been instigated by the Sports Aviation Federation of Australia (SAFA – responsible for free flight paragliding).
The team continues to train at Stanwell Tops with the support of the Stanwell Park Hang Gliding and Paragliding Club. Donations continue to be received from interested people and various support organisations.
Rotary clubs and individuals may send donations via firstname.lastname@example.org or call Ken on 0418 205 225. He is always available for guest speaker spots at clubs, conferences, and other meetings.
Ken was due to head for Nepal again in 2019, but had to cancel when he fractured his wrist in a training accident. In 2020, the Minister for Aviation and Tourism in Nepal was killed in a helicopter crash and the promised approval was again placed on hold. COVID-19 issues then set in and the waiting game continues.
Ken and his team have a long list of trekkers who wish to accompany them to Nepal to complete a guided walk to the Everest Base Camp.
This provides another fundraising source for polio, similar to the 2018 campaign.