July 18, 2011
Tremendous achievement secured by climbers with Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s disease today as they conquered Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world!
MOUNT KILIMANJARO, Tanzania, July 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
Today, seven adventurous men and women with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and
four with Parkinson's disease (PD), along with nine climbing companions,
reached the highest peak in Africa. This is the first time that a group of
people with both of these neurodegenerative diseases have united as a
committed team to reach a summit this high, all whilst showing solidarity in
supporting one another every step of the way. This climb clearly
demonstrated that neurodegenerative diseases do not represent the end of
'normal' life, but that people living with the diseases can in fact go on to
achieve staggering feats. Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania stands at 19,340
feet, not only making it the highest peak in Africa, but also the highest
free-standing mountain in the world.
"This 'Kilimanjaro Leap of Faith Adventure' was meant to challenge the
body, expand the mind and foster courage in dealing with the diagnosis of a
neurodegenerative disease. There have been some really tough parts of the
trek, especially altitude sickness, for which there is nothing you can do.
Imagine that on top of our neurodegenerative diseases. But, we've made it
and that's a credit to all of us who believe that we can go beyond the
limitations of our disease and still achieve incredible results, both
physically and mentally. We have remembered all those with neurodegenerative
disease who climb personal mountains each day, as we have taken the steps to
this summit," said trip organiser Lori Schneider, founder of Empowerment
The climbing group comprises a number of wonderful and diverse
individuals. There are musicians, teachers, adventurers, philanthropists,
sports enthusiasts, psychologists, social workers, artists, program
managers, engineers, parents, and many other unique individuals among the
brave people with MS, PD and their climbing companions. The medical team
includes an MS researcher and biochemist, a neurologist, a physician's
assistant, physical therapists, sports trainers and the medically trained
staff from the climbing company, Alpine Ascents International. Most of the
group already enjoy outdoor activities and they have all dedicated
themselves to training to prepare themselves for this challenge and
adventure. A key attribute of the group is their outstandingly positive
outlook, regardless of the hurdles they face, and their unwavering
commitment to supporting one another throughout the trip.
"What this wonderful group of people with MS and Parkinson's disease has
done is incredible. When I was first diagnosed with MS I ran away from my
life in fear. I left a 22 year marriage, a 20 year teaching career, sold my
house, left my community, and tried to run from my MS diagnosis. That
changed when I reached the top of the world, becoming the first person with
MS to reach the summit of Mount Everest. The idea behind the Kilimanjaro
Leap of Faith Adventure was for me to share the lessons I have learned about
believing in yourself and following your dreams. I think it's worked!"
Continued Lori Schneider.
The Kilimanjaro climb has certainly had its challenges. Some have
suffered from altitude sickness, occasionally worsened by the symptoms of
their neurodegenerative disease. It is for this reason that three people
with MS and five of the climbing companions did not reach the summit.
However, everyone has assisted and supported each other every step of the
way. All have gone beyond their limitations to redefine who they are and
what they are capable of achieving.
Communication activities for the Kilimanjaro Leap of Faith Adventure
2011 are kindly supported by Sanofi.
The "More than a mountain" artwork has been created by Susie Weber.
For team member profiles, daily updates, visuals and podcasts from the
MS / PD climbers and their companions, please visit:
About Empowerment Through Adventure
Lori Schneider started Empowerment Through Adventure to organise
adventure activities for others who would like to challenge themselves, step
outside of their comfort zone and feel empowered in their own lives. The
Kilimanjaro Leap of Faith Adventure00 is meant to challenge the body, expand
the mind and foster courage in dealing with the diagnosis of a neurological
For further information on Empowerment Through Adventure, please visit: http://www.EmpowermentThroughAdventure.com Media contacts: Fiona Walton Tel: +44(0)203-047-2111 Email: [email protected] Jessie Prynne Tel: +44(0)203-047-2118 Email: [email protected]
SOURCE Empowerment Through Adventure