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Spencer West Climbs Kilimanjaro – with No Legs

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After a year of training, West and a crew of friends and documentary filmmakers set out on the climb. In a special to The Calgary Herald, Craig and Marc Kielburger, co-founders of Free the Children, wrote that West made 80 percent of the climb on his own. The rest he maneuvered with his custom-built wheelchair or while strapped to the backs of friends or porters.

West blogged the arduous journey to Mount Kilimanjaro’s 18,640-ft. summit. He chronicled the fatigue, the altitude sickness, and the unfailing cameraderie. After reaching the mountain’s peak, he wrote:

There we were: me and my two best friends in the entire world, sitting together at the top of Africa, the continent that had taught us so much about compassion, humility and the power of we.

David Maris wrote about interviewing West in Tanzania, after he finished the climb. His piece in Forbes sums up the effect this young man has on people:

The more and more I reflected on it, and after watching some videos of the climb as well as some of his other speeches, I realized that while the physical feat he accomplished is impressive, it is how he accomplished it and the message behind it that is inspirational.  West’s approach of building a team of reciprocal trust and support, creating major change though small steps, and tying goals to social impact has direct applicability for companies and individuals alike.

And I think the evidence is clear that West is on to something: unlock greatness by redefining possible.

West still intends to reach his goal of $750,000 for the water projects. Donations can be made at Redefine Possible.

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Photos from Spencer West's Facebook page

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85 comments

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2:20PM PST on Nov 11, 2012

wow

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

wow

5:24PM PDT on Jul 6, 2012

Wonderful

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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Beth Buczynski Beth is a freelance writer and editor living in the Rocky Mountain West. So far, Beth has lived in... more
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