Lerato Monyatsi (41) from Krugersdrop, Gauteng, is the founder of SkirtGirlHiker Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to restore dignity to Ostomy and Cancer Patients by conquering mountains and hiking with purpose.
In 2020 while many lives had been shaken by the Covid-19 pandemic, Lerato was diagnosed with stage 3 Colorectal Cancer. This meant receiving immediate medical attention and undergoing multiple surgeries as well as chemotherapy and radiation.
Through this journey, Lerato also became a permanent Ostomate after losing her colon to cancer and faced exorbitant medical costs. Still to this day, she requires costly medical supplies and ongoing treatment.
Lerato’s serious health battle made her realise the harsh reality that many South Africans lack access to basic medical care, and thus she created The Skirtgirlhiker Foundation.
“After I confronted this stage3 Colorectal Cancer Mountain and survived it, I felt the urgent need to create awareness about this type of Cancer and what being an Ostomate means…Being an avid multi-day hiker I felt my ostomy gave me another chance at living life to the fullest while making an impact on the lives of those less fortunate.” – says Lerato
With a mandate to close the care gap and raise funds for the medical attention, supplies and mental wellness of Colorectal Cancer patients and stoma patients, Lerato aims to summit the rooftop of Africa, Mount. Kilimanjaro at 5895m.
Lerato, who is an avid explorer and adventurer, will begin her charity climb on 2 June 2022 and aims to reach her peak, in triumph, in 8 days.
“I have been so anxious to share the news because this journey feels so surreal and the purpose is bigger than me. Nothing carries more potential for change than individual acts of human kindness.” – says Lerato
Through a crowdfunding campaign launched on BackaBuddy, Lerato hopes to raise R20 000 or more for her foundation. Since the launch of the campaign 8 donors have made kind contributions to the value of R2400.
“Join hands with us as we make an impact in the lives of South Africans’ stoma and cancer patients. You can make a difference now. Now more than ever, your support means everything. Thousands of people like you help us stand up and move mountains to restore the dignity of South Africans, one community, one cancer patient and one Ostomate at a time.” – says Lerato
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South Africa’s leading crowdfunding platform, BackaBuddy has supported more than 10 000+ individuals and charities in setting up fundraising campaigns for medical fees, tuition and various causes in South Africa. The platform has thus far raised over R329 Million.