As part of his Summit 2 Summit Challenge, Daniel Kalakech, accompanied by his adventure companion James Plumey, climbed Mont Blanc this Sunday, September 10, 2023, the first sporting challenge to raise awareness of vitiligo.
With the desire to highlight this autoimmune disease from which he suffers, this 30-year-old Franco-Lebanese physiotherapist in Saint-Martin has launched a double major challenge, the ascent of two major summits: Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro. The first challenge was completed this Sunday September 10 brilliantly. Daniel Kalakech testifies: “It took us 15 hours of continuous effort to bring you these magnificent photos from the summit of the Alps. We took the Trois Monts route to reach the Roof of Europe and wave the flags of the Unity flag of Saint-Martin and that of the Vitiligosummits Challenge, and therefore realize the first stage of our project.” Accompanied by his long-time friend James Plumey, a 33-year-old British native from the island of Guernsey, and guide Joffrey Jarnias, Daniel Kalakech left the Refuge des Cosmiques at 2 a.m. for 7 hours of ascent and 7 hours of descent with almost one hour of rest at the summit: “We therefore did 1500m of positive altitude difference with a large part above 4000m altitude on the way out and 1200m negative altitude difference on the return”. The training sessions of the previous days allowed the two adventurers to be well acclimatized and to master the mountaineering equipment during the technical passages on the outward and return journeys. The second challenge of this great challenge will concern the ascent of 5895m of Kilimanjaro, a childhood dream for Daniel. In addition to the double sporting prowess, Daniel Kalakech intends to raise awareness among as many people as possible about the disease vitiligo, a skin condition which manifests itself by white areas on the skin, in order to broaden the subject of school bullying and surpassing oneself. Louis Mussington, president of the Community, met Daniel Kalakech last August to show his support: “Bearing values of unity and solidarity, Daniel and James will carry the Unity Flag with them. This gesture also aims to promote Saint-Martin well beyond the borders. I had the honor of presenting our Unity Flag to Daniel, and I can’t wait to follow this incredible adventure on social media.” At the end of the project, Daniel Kalakech will donate part of the donations to the Saint-Martin association Vitiligo Educate Inspire & Support SXM (VEISS) and another part to the Bordeaux research service for vitiligo of Professor Julien Seneschal. _VX