Aconcagua Expedition 2000 Presents a New Passenger Van to The Society for The Physically Disabled

Singapore, 11 November 2001 – David Lim, leader of Singapore’s first Mt. Everest Expedition, and Mr Tok Beng Cheong scaled the Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Americas without high altitude guides, porters or other support staff, to raise funds for a new 13-seater Mercedes Benz Sprinter for The Society for the Physically Disabled (SPD).

This feat was achieved in last February and made more remarkable by the fact that David reached the summit as a disabled person, still nursing and recovering from a serious physical disability. He had lost the ability to move his right ankle and needed a brace to walk following a rare and serious nerve disorder shortly after returning from the successful Mt. Everest Expedition. This nerve disorder left him paralysed from the eyes down and hospitalised for 6 months.

Though he always counts himself fortunate to be able to recover speedily and return to the mountains, he has not forgotten the limitations and inconvenience of being disabled. Thus, he turned his passion into a good deed last February. He climbed Aconcagua with Tok Beng Cheong and at the same time raised funds for The Society for the Physically Disabled to replace an old van. All the monies raised came directly to SPD. The duo funded the climb from their own pockets with internal airfares in Argentina sponsored by The Embassy of Argentina, Singapore.

The Aconcagua Expedition 2000 raised $100,000 to buy a 13-seater Mercedes Benz Sprinter that comes with the necessary modifications, installation of a hydraulic lift and wheelchair locks. The model was chosen as it can accommodate 3 to 4 more wheelchairs and passengers than other ordinary passenger vans.

The Society for the Physically Disabled has over 160 disabled beneficiaries coming to its centre at Peng Nguan Street on a daily basis. Transportation has always been a problem for the disabled as the public transport systems are not suitable for most of the wheelchair-bound people while alternatives like a private car or taxi is a very costly option for most people with disabilities.

Mr Koh Nai Teck, President of SPD, remarked: “SPD runs two sheltered workshops and a day care centre. Besides being constrained by space when admitting beneficiaries, transportation is another constraint. We are very grateful to David and Beng Cheong for raising a significant sum for SPD to buy a higher capacity van to replace one of our eight vehicles that is almost 20-year old and is also costly to maintain.”