The Kilimanjaro Expedition Challenge has finally arrived!
What started out as a lofty notion of an impossible adventure is finally about to become reality.
Not going to lie, this campaign has been rough. Over 2 years ago, the idea of climbing a mountain to inspire and raise money for male survivors seemed like a no-brainer. The #MeToo movement was in full swing and I truly believed that I would raise buckets of money for charity and that media outlets would be clambering to cover the story - but the truth was neither of those things and, in turn, very humbling.
After 8 months of almost zero traction, I decided to push the climb back a year and start over. After another 6 months of almost nothing, I began to think that I had bit off more than I could chew; major doubts began to set in. Would I be able to get anybody to really care about what I was doing and why? Is it important for them to care in the first place?
Well, I've never been a quitter and the answer is yes! It is very important!
I decided to re-focus my fundraising efforts again and turned them local, holding two local events and pushing that fundraising meter to nearly 7.5 thousand dollars. While, that may not seem like much in the fundraising world and though it is only a fraction of the money I originally set out to make, I am both ecstatic and at peace with where this campaign has evolved and ended up. That 7.5 K is going to give A LOT of men a better opportunity to speak their truths and tell their stories.
Now for the hard part! The mountain looms...
Even with plenty of outdoor and adventure experience under my belt, to say I am not nervous would be a big fat lie. Kilimanjaro is a formidable force of nature and she certainly will prove to be one of the most challenging feats of my 35 years on this planet. While moments of tears, pain, isolation and grief are almost guaranteed, I expect the moments of beauty, peace, freedom and achievement to be even greater - and I welcome all of it.
The other major component of this climb has always been to inspire other survivors to do more with their lives.
It is important to be bold. It is not ok to be just ok.
Find your own personal mountain and conquer it.
Having said that, it is with a full heart and the strength of countless other survivors in my feet that I set out on this incredible adventure, ready to face whatever nature has in store for me...
As John Muir famously once said, "the mountains are calling and I must go."