RIVERINA Rotarians are proving they will travel to the moon and back to help children in Africa suffering from AIDS.
The Mountains of the Moon, or Rwenzoris, in Uganda has been described as a combination of the Kokoda Track and Mount Kilimanjaro, a treacherous 5109-metre hike through rain, ice, mud and altitude.
This will be the terrain facing Rotarians for Fighting AIDS national chairman Fred Loneragan and board member John Glassford as they travel to Africa tomorrow.
The pair will be joined by Rotary Club of Henty member Mark Janetzki and three men from Bathurst to start climbing the mountain next Wednesday.
Rotary has taken on the challenge of fighting AIDS in the same way it took on eradicating polio 25 years ago.
"When you look at when they started with polio, there were 1000 cases a day and now there is far less," Mr Loneragan said.
The climbers will be on the mountain for World AIDS Day on December 1 and Mr Loneragan will celebrate his birthday halfway up.
He said it was important to physically get involved rather than just donate money.
"It's the metaphor of the mountain and the pandemic, they are both extremely high," he said.
Mr Glassford said the biggest issue with combating AIDS in Africa is raising awareness.
"We could just sit at home and run raffles," he said.
"It's no good just raising money one year, what happens after that?
"It doesn't matter what the problem is, we can do something."
Mr Loneragan and Mr Glassford have been climbing The Rock in preparation but said there are some elements they cannot prepare for.
"The thing you cannot train for is altitude sickness," Mr Loneragan said.
"We can be fit as anything but altitude sickness takes you," Mr Glassford said.
The pair's aim is to raise $250,000 to put towards eradicating the spread of AIDS from mother to baby. To donate to Rotarians for Fighting AIDS visit www.moutainsofthemoon.org.
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