Theni Fire Victim Wants to Be First Vegan Woman to Scale Everest

“She has the spirit. She will definitely fight this.”

Family and friends of Anu Vidya are praying hard as the 25-year old is battling for her life, suffering from 90% burns all over her body.

A trekking enthusiast, Anu Vidya was one among the 39 trekkers who were trapped in a massive forest fire in Theni district in southern Tamil Nadu.

The fire broke out in the Kurangini hills, when a group of women and three children were returning from a trek organised by the Chennai Trekking Club to mark Women's Day. On their way back on Sunday, the group was trapped on a hillock, surrounded by fire.

Though she has suffered 90% burns, her family members say that she will stay strong.

Nothing Can Deter Her Dream of Scaling Mt Everest

Friends paint a picture of Anu as a sweet, smart, multi-tasker whom everyone loved to hang out with.

She was training to become the first vegan woman to climb Mt Everest. Kuntal Joisher, the first male vegan to climb Everest, who was mentoring her, recalls her as a strong focussed girl who is always ready to ‘go get it.’

Last October, he and Anu trekked to the Everest base camp.

“The idea was for her to see Mt Everest and get a sense of what she was getting into, the challenge itself. There were times during the trip when she was struggling, but she stayed focussed and didn't give up,” said Joisher to The Quint.

"At one point, when we were climbing to the top of Kaala Patthar, she was like ‘I am going to get to the top.’ I told Anu that is not our final objective, which is something else. Let us turn back, go home and come again. She is relentless and won’t give up. She will fight through this." - Kuntal Joisher to The Quint

Anu Vidhya is a psychologist who has been practising animal therapy to help children with special needs.

“Knowing her mental strength, I know that if there is anyone who can come out of this, it is Anu. I am not even thinking that anything will go wrong,” he adds.

“I still think once she comes out of this, Everest will definitely still be her dream,” Joisher said.

Also Read: Theni Forest Fire Gave a Tragic End to Love Story of Newly-Weds

A Teacher, Activist, Psychologist and a Fighter

Anu Vidhya has been known in Chennai circles for her dedication to helping and saving animals.

Anu works as a psychologist taking care of a therapy program ‘Dog Doctor’ for children with special needs at Grove School in Teynampet.

Animal activist Jennifer Jacob, who has known Anu for over 6 years now, is not able to believe such an incident has taken place. “She is a sweet kid, thoughtful of the environment and animals. We pray for her speedy recovery. We are all with her,” said Jennifer.

Chairman Emeritus for Federation of Indian Animal Protection Organisations (FIAPO) Chinny Krishna recalls working with Anu and says she is one of the most dedicated animal activists he has come across.

“She is an amazing girl and I am fairly certain that she has the spirit to fight this back,” he says.

Also Read: Post Theni Forest Fire, Kerala Orders Stay on Trekking Programmes

‘A Ball of Energy’

What is keeping her family motivated and optimistic? Anu Vidya herself.

Her family describes her as a “ball of energy”, a fitness buff, an athlete who frequented triathlons and treks.

"In fact, it was she who told the ambulance personnel who were taking her to call our parents and tell them she was fine!" - Madhupriya, Anu’s Sister, to The News Minute

Also Read: Massive operation on to rescue students from TN forest fire

Anu Vidya’s family got the news of the fire in the evening. Anu’s sister Madhupriya was in Theni at the time, so she rushed to Bodhi hospital at 5:30 pm. But it was only three hours later that Anu Vidya was brought in.

"She had spoken to our mother at 2:30 pm yesterday. She said they had stopped for a while and would resume the trek soon. Everything seemed normal." - Anu’s sister Madhupriya to TNM

Her family said that they are sure Anu is already planning her next workout and cannot wait to get back on her feet.

“Because of her optimism, we are also hopeful. What has happened has happened. But sometimes even god can’t take away certain people,” Madhupriya says.

(With inputs from The News Minute)

Also Read: Theni Forest Fire: 10 Killed in TN, Trek Organiser Arrested

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