‘The pain only lasts until you cross the finish line. If not, it lasts forever’. These are words that Bala Gangiah abide by daily.
After 57-year-old retired project engineer, Bala Gengiah, was diagnosed with cancer in May 2018, the Durban dad decided to make this experience his greatest motivator in setting and achieving a lifetime goal of conquering the climb of Mount Kilimanjaro.
Although his family and doctors did not approve of him climbing the mountain three months after his kidney removal, his yoga instructor advised and accompanied him to climb Sani Pass so that he could test his fitness.
Gengiah got to the top of the mountain, which helped him persuade his family to let him summit Kilimanjaro.
Post climb, which was just six months after his operation, Gengiah penned down his words of motivation to inspire others to conquer their ‘Kilimanjaro’ in his book entitled, ‘What’s your Kilimanjaro?’, which was launched in April this year.
“We have two options: make our problem smaller or make ourselves stronger. I had two options- make Kilimanjaro smaller or make myself stronger. I chose the easy way out and made myself stronger. It’s a lot easier making yourself stronger than your hurdle smaller. In addition, if you attempt to make your problem smaller, you will have do that to every problem you encounter,” the inspirational man shared.
The main aim of the book is to assist people with life-threatening diseases or to help them overcome any barrier or limitation a person may have.
Based on his personal experiences, Gengiah believes that although there are brilliant doctors in the country, who can accurately diagnose and determine the extent to which a disease has spread, has been contained or can be eliminated, they are unable to provide the means for patients to accept and deal with their illness.
‘Kilimanjaro’ in the title of the book can figuratively be replaced by any situation that an individual is trying to overcome.
“Sometimes it’s to lose some weight or get your health in order. Sometimes it’s to improve your grades or finish a degree. Sometimes it’s to overcome an illness or come to terms with the loss of a loved one or a divorce. Sometimes it’s just to say sorry or forgive. Sometimes it’s to climb Kilimanjaro and sometimes it’s to climb it against all odds,” he concluded.