Four friends from Crawley reunite to walk Mount Snowdon for Appeal for Covid India
Four friends from Crawley have reunited after seven-years apart to walk Mount Snowdon and raise funds for the Appeal for Covid India.
Samit ‘Sam’ Limbachia, Manish ‘Mango’ Vaidya, Mahesh Vaidya and Snehal Nayee, will scale the highest mountain in Wales and England to support the International Society of Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) in their efforts to provide urgent care to the most vulnerable in India.
The quartet have set up a JustGiving page and have set a target of raising £10,000 for the appeal.
As of Saturday, May 22, India has recorded 26.8 million cases of coronavirus infection - the second highest figure in the world - and has seen approximately 304,000 people die during the pandemic - the third highest number worldwide.
The coronavirus crisis in India has hit all four - especially Sam - particularly hard.
Sam said: “This Covid virus has crippled India. Within the first week we all knew someone affected, within a fortnight we knew some who had died.
“People are still dying. Every five days 2,500 people are dying, and we felt it was only right to help support the cause.
“We reconnected after seven-years apart because my whole family was affected by Covid. Naturally my friends reached out and offered their support in any way they could.
“After seeing what happened to my parents, it was a wake up call for all of us and it put things into perspective.
“We have a team on the ground in India, which gives weekly updates on exactly where the money is going, penny for penny.
“The money donated is building camps in rural areas and fitting those camps with oxygen, beds and providing food to the vulnerable.”
The foursome also endured difficulty during lockdown. But this period saw the four reconnect and discover a love for walking - igniting the spark for their plans to scale Snowdon.
Sam added: “We all have always had a closed relationship since childhood. We were all being born and raised here in Crawley but as the years progressed, we went our separate ways and lost touch.
“Lockdown was hard for all of us, being stuck at home and some of us being furloughed. We wanted to meet up but we had nowhere to go.
“The hardest thing about lockdown was definitely the social aspect. We kept in touch on the phones and on March 29, when we were able to meet up, we did, and we haven’t looked back since.
“We met daily without fail and these walks kept us strong mentally and physically.
“We have all had a very challenging year in these unprecedented times and this gave us a sense of purpose and achievement.
“Whilst we calibrated together, we shared ideas and the Mount Snowdon idea came to light and we just rolled it out.
The quartet will walk four hours each way when they venture up the mountain. Sam admitted he was well aware of the challenge they faced, but was determined to complete the task and give something back to India.
He said: “It’s something to look forward to and we wanted to somehow give back.
“We are fully aware the climb will not be easy, but the climb will represent the tough year we have had and us reaching the top of the mountain would be the breakthrough moment.
“We are all hoping that one day we can put Covid behind us. As much as we have learnt valuable lessons throughout Covid, we have had enough of it!”
The ISKCON effort in Crawley is led by Mahesh, and he and Manish are key members of the charity in the town.
Sam added: “ISKCON identifies our relationship with God. You can be from any faith Christian, Muslim, Hindu, and the movement teaches one how to connect with God
“ISKCON is very dear to the four of us because it's a British charity supporting local efforts to feed people and teach people how to connect to God.
“Mahesh has led the ISKCON Crawley efforts for over a decade now and, seeing the wonderful outreach they are doing for Crawley, it is only natural we support them with their Emergency Covid Appeal in India.”
The foursome have so far raised over £5,500 and Sam couldn’t be more proud of how much the group has raised.
He said: “We are very grateful for those who have donated up until this point. The feeling of having strong support from friends, family and the community is, to say the least, overwhelming.
“We are halfway there and feel that, with the strong support of this community and local businesses, we will achieve the 10K target.”
To donate please visit justgiving.com/fundraising/sam-limbachia.
The group is also looking for local businesses to match fund the money they raise.
If you would like to help Sam and his friends, please email [email protected]