We are grateful for that opportunity and it taught us what the mountains have shown us over years of hiking: don't give up, make the best of the conditions, pull yourself up by the boot straps, and try again.
Ben and I put our heads and hearts together and along with the love and support of my husband, Rich, and other son, Ian, 13, we thought long and hard about how to take some really big steps to make a difference in this world. We still want to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro but we want to do it in a way that will serve others and bring attention to causes and people we believe in and want to help. We want to climb for the kids.
Our intention is to hike with Rick French, owner of Pack, Paddle, Ski (PPS). Rick and PPS do so much for the community and to inspire people. I've only known him for a year or so, but the impression he's made on my life is huge. Ben and I want to further his mission of bringing hope and happiness to the world.
We want to hike to help kids and families affiliated with Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. We have several connections to the hospital. Our dear friends' daughter was loved and cared for there but succumbed to a rare illness 10 years ago. We are raising money for the hospital in memory of Jessica Stewart Olin, a sweet butterfly of a little girl. Learn more here.
We will also climb to help build an education fund for the twin daughters of a porter named Raziki who has climbed with Rick for years. He's the group's cook, too. His daughters are just seven years old. This education fund will help give them an education. Learn more here.
Lastly, we owe a great deal to Rick and PPS. We are climbing to try to do some good out there but we need financial support to help cover our climbing and travel costs. Rick has established a fund to do just this. Learn more here.
The climb will be hard and we know it. That's another reason we are going with Rick and his team; they are seasoned veterans of the climb. We hope to summit and will relish the highs of doing what we love together and we will endure the challenges along the way, such as the high altitudes and very cold temps near the top.
We need your support! Stay tuned for some fun things we have planned to raise awareness and money for our causes. We've got some great ideas up our sleeves that we are firming up now. In the meantime, our Giving page provides more information on how to donate to these causes now.
(This means thank you very much in Swahili.)