Dr. Varuna Raina is a Head Injury survivor. At 18, she was hit by a truck and left for dead. Although she lived, she suffered traumatic brain injury with fractures, facial paralysis, severe balance issues, and was left with permanent 85% hearing loss in her right ear. But she fought and persevered hard to chase her dream of becoming a Doctor. The taunts of her peers aimed at her hearing impairment only fueled her fire and didn't dampen her spirit. From a traumatic accident to climbing mountains, her battle rages on to raise awareness on head injury/hearing loss rehabilitation and mental health.
Battling with severe brain injury, she fought with an indomitable will. She rose to be a Doctor, Mountaineer, Yoga Teacher, Writer, Runner, and advocate for changing disability to DIS-is-ability.
In Fall of 2023, she will climb Mount Ama Dablam in Nepal (6812 m). Said to be more challenging than climbing Mt. Everest, at 40, she will be the 3rd Indian woman and the 1st Indian Doctor to climb this peak. With her training in mountaineering, medicine, ice craft, yoga and mindfulness, she is eager and raring to reach the summit that she couldn't have imagined at the time of her head injury rehabilitation when she could barely walk without support.
Her love for mountains was kindled by her dad, who was her biggest supporter. When she lost him to Diabetes as a daughter and Doctor, she lost the very reason to live. Sinking into an abyss of darkness, she took a hiatus but bounced back after fighting off her demons and restarted climbing to honor the presence of her father in her life and find the greatest well of strength in her despite her limitations.
Dr. Varuna was 1 of the 4 civilians selected recently in August for an expedition with the Indian Army to Jongsong peak. Now she's back and currently training hard in mind and body for her next expedition to Mt. Ama Dablam, technically one of the most challenging mountains in the world (6812 m | Nepal).
If you believe in her dream, if you believe that nothing can bring you down if you try and try.. please support and contribute toward her dream!
Help her raise funds for the climb so she can fulfill her dream of climbing to raise awareness about Mental Health, Head Injury, Diabetes and giving hope to people with hearing disability - who think that this is the end.
Being a Vegetarian climber, she believes in a sustainable lifestyle and old-school hard work. Her love for mountains began at age 5 when her dad took her hiking to Amarnath cave at 13,000 feet on foot. Her father dreamt of seeing her holding both a stethoscope and an ice-axe. But forced exodus snatched those dreams, plunged them into uncertainty, and left her without a home overnight. She had no semblance of a normal childhood, yet her father would lift her spirits by saying, "tomorrow is a new day".
The near-fatal head injury could not keep her down forever! Defeating all odds, she has risen like a phoenix from one setback after another, battling depression and her father's loss to diabetes to becoming a Doctor, Mountaineer and Mental Health Advocate.
Dr. Varuna is set on achieving her dreams of fighting for the causes she is passionate about:
- Displaced childhood & children of forced exodus
- Inspiring women to dream
- Diabetes Awareness
- People battling mental health issues
- People with permanent Hearing Impairment
- 40+ Women age group
The total cost including expedition, gear, insurance, flight, etc amounts to around 6.9 lakhs INR ($ 8480 USD) and Varuna finds herself raising money for the 1st time to make her dream come true! She is determined with an iron clad will and resolve to represent her country, INDIA and unfurl the National Flag on the summit!
Let's support her and her spirit of taking the risks, willingness to fall down and fail, yet keeping her sight on the journey and the goal. If she can do it, so can we!