"IT'S hard to believe that in one more day this will all be over," reflected ATS Pacific's Sally Cooper on Thursday.
She and 66 other competitors participating in the Accor Extreme Challenge to Cure Kids have done much in a relatively short time.
Bus trips, zip lining, local food shopping and cooking — all in the name of charity. They took time out to donate milk to the Lautoka Hospital. The five-day challenge ended yesterday.
Fun and games aside, the reality of why many had travelled from across the Asia-Pacific region to Fiji was brought to the fore when they visited Loma Primary School on Thursday.
"This may have sounded like a fun trip, and it was, until we reached the smiling faces of 180 children at Loma Primary School where we saw first-hand pioneering rheumatic heart disease (RHD) screening. Then it became clear why we were here," she said.
Rheumatic heart disease has been identified as an issue among school-aged children. Funds raised from the Accor Extreme Challenge led to a pilot study last year and had since developed with nurses being trained to use mobile echo cardiograms to screen children.
"All the children were screened and those found to have RHD were started on treatment and given counselling.
"If it goes undetected, children can need major heart surgery.
"But if found early treatment is possible," she said.