Kamloops climbers summit Mt. Kilimanjaro for a cause

By Adam Donnelly
January 22, 2016 - 5:12pm

KAMLOOPS — It’s the highest peak on the African continent, rising 5,895 metres above sea level, off the plains of Tanzania. Mount Kilimanjaro is one of the Seven Summits; the highest mountains on each of Earth’s continents.

Earlier this month, a team of climbers, many from Kamloops, took to the mountain as part of Developing World Connections Kilimanjaro Challenge, to not only reach the top of the famed mountain, but raise money to build a school in Sierra Leone.

One of the climbers, Julie Kimmel, said the group of climbers were incredibly supportive. “It was all so positive. Everybody was working to help each other out,” said Kimmel, who is the Director of Development at the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation.

When you’re taking on a mountain, it’s tough to do it on your own. Kimmel, along with Neville Flanagan, and Roxanna Ferguson were part of a team of 18, trying to raise $90,000 for Developing World Connections.

“The idea was we would all raise money individually, plus corporately, to be able to finish building a school in Sierra Leone, that had started before the Ebola outbreak,” said Roxanna Ferguson.

The ultimate goal of that team was to reach the highest point in Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro, rising 19,341 feet above sea level.

At 75, Neville Flanagan was the oldest climber in the group. He’s run marathons, and done multi-day hikes before; he said this was this toughest trek he’s done, and was lucky to share the experience with his son, and grandson. According to Flanagan, “It was fabulous. It was just great to be with them both.”

As of today, the Mount Kilimanjaro Challenge has raised nearly $95,000 dollars to help build the school in Sierra Leone. For those to took the trip, and climbed the mountain, the journey, and the relationships they built along the way are priceless.

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