A Corona del Mar High School junior will try for the second time to climb to the top of Mt. Kinabulu this summer to support Coalition Duchenne, a charity that raises funds and awareness of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Lucas Bradom,17, whose brother has Duchenne and is a 2011 CdMHS graduate, will climb the 13,455-foot high mountain in Borneo in August. CdMHS junior Evan Romano, 17, also will participate, said Cath Jayasuriya, Brandom’s mother, who is organizing the climb.
“We need to focus on changing the course of the disease, taking our quest to another level,” Jayasuriya said in an email. “Expedition Mt. Kinabalu is an event that is helping to achieve that goal.”
Jayasuriya founded Coalition Duchenne in 2011 to raise funding and awareness for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a progressive muscle wasting disease that occurs in one of 3,500 male births, or 20,000 boys each year.
“Most do not live into their 20s,” Jayasuriya said. “Lucas’s 19-year-old brother Dusty is one of those boys.”
A team of 60 climbers from all over the world will participate in the climb, planning to summit on Aug. 25.
After the inaugural Expedition Mt. Kinabalu last September, Lucas said the heals, sore muscles and memories of the cold, wet mountain had him doubting he would return.
“I thought I would never climb again but this cause is too important,” Lucas said in an emailed statement. “We had a lot of coverage in the Malaysian newspapers last year, we sure raised a lot of awareness.”
Evan has climbed to the ruins at Matchu Picchu in Peru and said he was looking forward to this summer’s climb.
“Lucas’s mom told me I need not worry about the headhunters of Borneo, because the crocodiles ate them all,” he said.
Jayasuriya is one quarter Kadazandusun and has strong ties to Mt. Kinabalu.
“The Kadazandusun people, who live along the foothills of Mt. Kinabalu, hold the mountain sacred and believe that their ancestors’ spirits dwell on the mountaintop,” she said in a statement. On the morning before the climb, there will be a blessing and a ritual to appease the spirits of Mt. Kinabalu, she said.
Donations in support of the climbing expedition can be made online.
Photos courtesy of Coalition Duchenne. Top photo shows Lucas Brandom standing below the final ascent to the peak of Mt. Kinabalu 13,455 feet. Bottom photo, from left, are Evan Romano, Dusty Brandom and Lucas Brandom.