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Spencer West Climbs Kilimanjaro – with No Legs

Spencer West Climbs Kilimanjaro – with No Legs
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A Toronto climber has scaled Mount Kilimanjaro in 20,000 steps, nearly all of them on his hands. With no legs and endless grit, 31-year-old Spencer West raised over $500,000 for Free the Children’s Redefine Possible initiative. The money will support clean-water projects in East Africa.

West has redefined what is possible since birth, when he was diagnosed with sacral agenesis. The rare genetic disorder causes abnormalities in the lower spine. At age five doctors amputated both of his legs below the pelvis. Here’s how West describes their prognosis in a video for Free the Children:

They said I would never walk, that I wouldn’t be a functioning member of society, that the odds would always be against me. But I refused to listen then, and I refuse to listen now.

In an interview with Colin Perkel for Canadian Press, West said a meeting with an 8-year-old Kenyan girl inspired him to train for the grueling climb. She told him “she didn’t know white people could lose their legs.” He added:

That one phrase changed the entire course of my life and helped me recognize how I could use my story to inspire people to overcome obstacles.

Severe drought in East Africa prompted West and his best friends, David Johnson and Alex Meers, to launch the “Redefine Possible” campaign. Their goal was to raise $750,000 for water projects.

Next: Success and Impact

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Photos from Spencer West's Facebook page

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2:20PM PST on Nov 11, 2012


2:31PM PDT on Sep 2, 2012

Absolutely incredible!

8:00PM PDT on Jul 17, 2012

I met Spencer when he attended school with my oldest son, John Smith, in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Spencer is the most AMAZING person I have ever known. I remember seeing him going down the halls of the school, on his hands, even tho he had artificial legs. I remember him taking a Hunter's Safety class with my son. Spencer participated in many activities and nothing stopped him. I also remember me picking him up and dancing with him at one of my cousins weddings. Can't remember which cousin, as it was many years ago, but, it was a Ruggera. I am in awe of his determination, drive, and attitude that he can, will, and does do whatever he sets his mind to. Congratulations on all your amazing accomplishments, and best wishes for your continued success in whatever you attempt. I know you will always succeed! You are my HERO and a HERO and a GREAT example to all!

9:05AM PDT on Jul 12, 2012

that is so awesome! this guy is my hero! there are very few people in the world today (especially in lazy America) that are that driven and persistent. most people in his situation would just be depressed and feel sorry for themselves. he actually did something with his life, even though he has less than most people that don't do anything with their lives!

7:43AM PDT on Jul 8, 2012

I remember reading about a woman who had the same disability. She managed to have a baby.

10:17PM PDT on Jul 7, 2012

amazing........this man is inspiration that nothing is impossible

6:55PM PDT on Jul 6, 2012


5:24PM PDT on Jul 6, 2012


12:47PM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

thanks for posting

11:27AM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

You have shamed us all. You are indeed, ONE of a KIND! You have taught us much!

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