Singapore mountain climber Jeremy Tong sets sights on Everest

Hannah Teoh
Senior Content Producer
Singaporean Jeremy Tong’s greatest challenge will be his Mount Everest expedition which starts in April 2017. (Photo: Dhany Osman/Yahoo Singapore)

He watched his uncle battle nose cancer and survive the ordeal. Inspired by the former’s will to live, Jeremy Tong will attempt his own death-defying feat in April as a mark of solidarity with cancer victims.

“One of the things that made me decide to climb Everest for cancer is because of his will to survive and I actually (view) it as the same as climbing Everest where the proximity to death is really high as well. So there’s a very close parallels between cancer as well as climbing Mount Everest,” Tong told Yahoo Singapore.

This April, Tong will attempt to reach the summit of Everest to raise funds for the Singapore Cancer Society.

“(My uncle’s) will to survive actually spurred me on to initiate this campaign to climb Everest, which is very similar to cancer because of the proximity to death. So that’s how I came up to starting this cancer campaign,” he said.

At the age of 27, Tong is also believed to be the one of the youngest Singaporeans attempting to reach the summit of Everest. There are believed to be less than 10 Singaporeans in their twenties who have reached the summit.

The avid mountain climber has scaled 31 peaks in the past 12 years in South-east Asia, Latin America and Africa, and Tong believes Everest will be his most challenging feat to date.

“One of the biggest fears is actually death or serious injuries because a lot of people said there’s a lot of dead bodies on Everest, and there are a lot of people that have gotten injured,” he said.

“So, of course, I’m extremely nervous and anxious about these different issues, but then again, I learn to be comfortable with those fears and try to calm myself down before going for the expedition itself,” he said.

Tong, a corporate facilitator with outdoor team building provider Focus Adventure, has been on no-pay leave to train full time for Everest since February this year.

He first began training for his Everest expedition in November 2015. His regular training routine includes 17km runs, and stair-climbing with a full pack of his climbing gear weighing 17kg, which he takes up 31 storeys each time.

To help finance his trip, Tong turned to crowd-funding and was heartened by the response. He raised around $10,000 through his crowd-funding site, and secured the rest of the amount he needed through sponsors.

Tong will leave in early April and his trip is expected to take until June. During his expedition, he plans to post regular updates through his Facebook page. He also started a separate website to raise funds for the Singapore Cancer Society.

The uncle who inspired Tong’s expedition also had encouraging words for his nephew’s feat. “My uncle said that he was super surprised I started out the campaign because of his story but extremely proud to have his nephew represent the cancer patients in Singapore,” said Tong.

To contribute to Jeremy’s fund-raising efforts for cancer, go to:
https://give.asia/movement/everest_for_cancer_2017