A woman in the prime of life who inspires us

In this issue, Helena Persson, 54, who raised funds for aids-stricken children in Africa by climbing the Kilimanjaro.

How come you decided to help children in need?

– During a trip with my son to South Africa in 2012 a seed was planted that I wanted to help somehow. Many things were modern there, still we saw shelters for children suffering because of aids – either because they were ill themselves or because they had lost their parents due to the disease. They were treated like paria. One could talk about everything – but not aids. We were horrified and my son said ‘How sad one can’t do anything to help’.

In the end you found a way to help.

– Yes, an organization offering the possibility to combine an adventure with fundraising for children with aids. The challenge was to raise an amount corresponding to US $8000. The adventure becomes a way of raising funds. I found people who helped by giving charity theater shows, musical evenings, organized  dinners and other events and that way managed to raise the money. I also had to spend more time at the gym to prepare for the climb.

Last autumn you climbed Kilimanjaro with four other women who had also raised funds – what was it like?

– What a fight, what a fight! But then I thought of the aids stricken children and how their fight is life long but I was going to be done in a week. The last bit we walked at night in the moonlight and reached the top at sunrise. I still get tears in my eyes when I think of the feeling that you don’t get any higher than this – and the incredibly beautiful view of Africa. A bonus is that my 16 year-old son is proud of me and realizes that you can actually do something to help those in need.