Great heights: dentists climb for charity

Dentists climb Ben Nevis for charity

A group of four dentists will climb Ben Nevis, Scotland over the late May bank holiday weekend, raising money for three different charities. We caught up with them to hear all about the climb.

The dentists participating are a group of friends who met at the University of Leeds. They are:

  • Mohsan Ahmad, principal dentist and chair of Greater Manchester’s Local Dental Network (LDN)
  • Sami Choudhry, dentist
  • Khalid Habib, principal dentist
  • Shazad Tahir, principal dentist.

They will raise money for three different charities:

  • Mouth Cancer Foundation – the Mouth Cancer Foundation exists to save and improve the lives of patients, carers and survivors, increasing awareness and education about this life-threatening illness
  • Mind – life can get tough for any of us at any time, especially with recent events. This can affect an individual’s mental health and could lead to unfortunate repercussions for the person and their family. Mind is here to support people with mental health issues, and we all need to support anyone who may be suffering
  • Turkey and Syria earthquakes – Turkey and Syria have recently had one of the worst natural disasters in our memory. The earthquake has destroyed families and homes. It is our duty as fellow human beings to help the victims in their time of suffering and need.

What’s the story behind the climb?

We all met at University of Leeds over 20 years ago, many of us living together during our time at university. After graduating, we continued to maintain our friendships as our group spread to all parts of the country.

Our responsibilities changed from making sure we arrived at clinics on time to working and running dental practices. A number of our close friends have been through some very challenging times recently and we just brainstormed that regular charity work as a group may create a positive outcome for all concerned.

The COVID-19 pandemic felt like it was time for all of us to re-evaluate our priorities and give something back from our privileged positions.

How have you all been training?

We setup a Whatsapp group to send words and photos of encouragement to each other and share our training routines. It was challenging during Ramadan for several of us, but we’ve had a couple of weeks to get back into it.

Most of us train regularly at the gym, but we have only recently taken up hiking. There are some phenomenal places to visit across the UK.

Shazad has climbed to the base camp of Mount Everest, and he has been delegated lead Sherpa!

What’s been the biggest challenge?

Encouraging people to donate during the pressures of increasing cost of living expenses. Everyone has financial challenges and responsibilities to varying degrees. Trying to inspire people to contribute can be difficult, but we have consistently been sending reminders to all our contacts and the response has been immense.

Why have you chosen these charity causes in particular?

Sami: As a dentist, mouth cancer is probably one of the worst outcomes to inform a patient about. Unfortunately, this was something I had to do in 2011 for my late father. For this reason, I am passionate to get involved and support an amazing cause like the Mouth Cancer Foundation.

Mohsan: One of my roles as chair of Greater Manchester LDN has been to improve the access for patients on a cancer journey to dental services and use our oral cancer guide to support dental teams to feel confident to see and treat these vulnerable patients. So, I chose the Mouth Cancer Foundation.

Khalid: The footage of the recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, and the reports of over 50,000 people missing or dying overnight shook us all to the core. We just wanted to contribute financially on a human level.

Shazad: I have chosen to raise money for Mind as I have seen at first-hand how severely mental health issues have affected family, friends, and colleagues. It is something close to my heart. I want to help a service that can provide support for such people.

What do you hope to achieve from the climb?

Firstly, we want to raise as much money as possible for these amazing charities.

Our long-term plan is to make this a regular fundraising event for our group. We have built a special camaraderie over the last 25 years and want to make sure we continue to give back to people who are in more need.

To learn more and donate to the fundraising campaign, click here.

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