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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