In so many ways, it feels like we started this trek back in the spring when we put it out there and started telling people what we were trying to do: honor the memory of a little girl we loved, support the education of two other girls, and spend time together doing what we love but doing it in a way that helps others.
I am beyond happy to say that we have met all of our goals. Early on, some folks Rick (our friend and guide from Pack Paddle Ski) knows stepped up and funded the education of the twin daughters of one of our climb's cooks, Raziki. They stepped up in a big way, too, funding these girls for the next 10 years. That's an $18,000 showing of love, support, and generosity.
Just in the past few weeks, we heard from the hospital that we have raised just over $5,000, which was our initial goal. A few very generous souls stepped up in the end and got us to that point. Thank you to all who donated to the Jessica Stewart Olin Memorial Fund at Golisano Children's Fund. We are touched and we are grateful. The hospital uses this fund to support areas of greatest need which means a lot of families and kids are being supported.
Jessie was such a spark. We loved her dearly and we will never forget the light that she brought to this world in just five short years. She is in our hearts forever and there's nothing we wouldn't do for her family. We plan to touch the heavens and reach out to her sweet little spirit over and over again, all along the way of our climb. We love you Baylie, Charlie, Rachel, and Jack. This one's for Jessie.
We are also amazed at the outpouring of support for Ben and me, from friends, family, and from people we've never met. Thanks to that support so many of our climbing and related costs are covered. This is huge--without this climb we couldn't have raised money for the kids. This climb was our catalyst for hope and help and love and good things to spread in this world. If we raise anything more for us, it'll go to the African porters and guides.
So now we are down to just days. I hope to finish packing today. Clothes and gear are everywhere. There will be order to the chaos soon.
Follow Along on Our Trip
For those who wish to follow our group's progress once we are in Africa, visit www.packpaddleski.com for live updates. Rick will be posting them whenever he has a connection. People can also post notes to us and others in our group. We'd love to hear from you!
Thank you again. There is sure a lot we can all do on our own but there is certainly more we can do together. Cheers to all of you for your compassion, service-oriented hearts, and community-bonded goodwill.
Asante sana, all!