Latest update from Catherine DeVrye

I’ve just returned from speaking in Phuket with Sir Bob Geldorf, where I watched the Nepalese disaster unfold on TV; a sad reminder that shift happens in Mother Nature…whether earthquakes or tsunamis. And when life is cruel, it’s important for human nature to be kind.

At KL airport, I met the head of ops for the Red Cross on his way to Kathmandu as I flew home to Sydney; arriving to find my home hit by lightning-but only a blip on the radar, which made me wonder why I’ve been so lucky when others face such trauma.

In this photo, you’ll see an insignificant red speck. That’s me, the day after an avalanche missed me by less than 100 metres at Annapurna Base Camp. I will never forget the sound of the mountain crashing down behind me and can’t even imagine the sounds of human anguish in Nepal today.

Life is so random.  When you go climbing, you assess and accept the risk-but for thousands of Nepalese families going about daily life-they could never have anticipated such devastation. As my Mum used to say, there is always someone worse off. Though deceased for more than half my life, she remains a moral compass and I ask myself: ‘What would Mum do?’ Well, she’d organise a bake sale at the church and send the proceeds to a charity. With my non-existent culinary skills, I’d likely just inflict food poisoning on folks.

So I then ask: ‘What would Sir Edmund Hillary do?’ He’d likely fill his backpack with tools to help rebuild, just as he was personally involved in physically building over 26 schools and hospitals in the Himalaya. I’d be useless at that as well. At times like this I wish I was a doctor, nurse, water engineer, carpenter…anyone with practical life-saving skills. But alas, I’m just an author-and citizens of Nepal don’t need books or motivational presentations at the moment-so as much as I’m tempted to go to Nepal, I’d just be in the way, taking food and water from people in need.

I remind myself to focus on what I can do-and not waste energy on what I cannot do. In awe of aid workers and troops already there, after some soul searching decided I can only donate funds and send this email. I’ve already received a dozen emails from organisations requesting funds. Medicine Sans Frontier, World Vision and Red Cross already have my moral and financial support-and I also admire the work done by the Australian Himalayan Foundation. So if you haven’t already given to a charity of your choice, please check out their website. With their team and partners on the ground, they’re putting in place the most practical, direct assistance for kids and communities. Donations can be made Please enter ‘earthquake appeal’ in the comments box.

And if you do, please let me know and I’ll send you a complimentary e-copy of ‘Hot Lemon & Honey-Reflections for Success in Times of Change’, with a jacket comment by Sir Edmund Hillary.

I’ve never sent an email like this before and know we all get donation fatigue so apologies if this offends; as I appreciate not everyone is in a position to help or may be facing a personal tragedy closer to home.

We all have those ‘Everests’ in our daily life; those metaphorical mountains we face. And, like climbing a mountain-or even a hill-we can only move forward one step at a time; one helping hand at a time…L

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