Help Ian Climb Mt Kilimanjaro

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Raised by 57 people in 45 months
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In 2012, I had a bacterial infection in my lungs (pneumonia). The infection quickly overwhelmed my body and within the span of a couple of days I went from thinking I had a cold (maybe even the flu), to being put on life support and an induced coma because the infection was causing all of my organs to fail (lungs, heart, kidneys).

I was not expected to live and my wife & kids were being prepared to lose me. 

Miraculously (and no doubt due to God's grace and people's prayers) after 8 days on life support I woke up and my organs began to recover. One unfortunate side effect of the whole ordeal is that due to low blood pressure I lost circulation to my extremities. My fingers and feet turned black and died. A few months later I had all of my fingers and my feet amputated.

This was in 2012. I got fitted for prosthetic legs and worked hard to get back to normal.

In 2013 I was able to go snow skiing again and I also coached my 4 year old son's soccer team. 

In 2014 I was given a grant to get special running legs so I could start training for a half marathon.

Now I have the opportunity to do something I would have never considered possible (even with legs, to be honest).

I have been invited to be a part of a group of other amputees to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Mt Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the tallest freestanding mountain in the world (19,341 feet).

This is a really special opportunity for me. I will not only be trekking up the mountain with 10-15 fellow amputees but we will be travelling with a support team of doctors, prosthetists, physical therapist, etc. 

Our team will leave for Tanzania the day after Christmas 2015. It will take us a few days to get there and get acclimated. The trek up the mountain will take 5-6 days. We will hike 5-7 miles each day.

Here is a trailer to a documentary of a group of military amputees that did this trip earlier this year.

I am doing this trip for a few reasons:

1) It is a challenge to myself. I want to see and prove that I can. Between now and next December I will be training pretty hard to get in shape for the hike. I will be doing long distance running and the team will be doing a team hike once a month.

2) I'd like to do something that our kids can brag about to their friends :)

3) I want to do inspire others that are dealing with an amputation or other injury/disability. When I was facing amputations, the idea of walking, running, driving seemed like an impossibility. Talking with others who had gone through a very similar ordeal was extremely encouraging to me. I'd like to help do the same for others.

The cost of the trip is approximtely $5,000. This includes airfare, lodging, taxes, guides up the mountain, food. 

In addition, I will need $500-$1000 of hiking equipment. This includes hiking boots, backpack, hiking poles, an adaptive device to help me grab the poles, clothing (did you know you are not supposed to wear any cotton material when hiking??)

I'd love your support in helping me fund this trip. My family and I are grateful for all of our friends and family that has supported us so far. 

Ian, Denisse, Emma, Jack, and Luke
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We did it! We made it back from Kili. It was a really, really challenging climb. We did it in 8 days. We hiked 8-10 hours each day, ate dinner, camped and started again the next morning. The hiking was physically tough, but the grind of doing it 8 days in a row was mentally challenging.

The last night was the toughest. We went to bed at 8pm and woke up 2 hours later to begin the summit push. I don't know the temp, but it was well below freezing and wind was 20-30mph (enough to push me off balance sometimes). We hiked through the night & reached the summit around 9am. A majority of the team was feeling sick at that altitude which is not uncommon. Fortunately I felt great and hung out up there for an hour or so.

We started at 16,000 feet, summited at 19,341 and had to hike down to 12,000. I didn't make it down to 12,000 until about 9pm. Almost 24 hours of hiking. It was a really, really long day.

We had 1 of our team that got sick enough that he couldn't make it to the top. But overall, everyone did great and we all motivated each other to make it. No major injuries either.

After the hike, I stayed in Tanzania for a few days and got to meet our Compassion International kids. This was so special. They were very sweet kids and had the sweetest mom & dad. It was not an easy trek to get to where they were (very, very remote) but it was worth it.

I can't thank you all enough for your support. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity for me, and I truly appreciate it. I hope this will give hope & inspire others in a similar situation.
Uhuru Peak. 19,341 feet.
Elinathan, me, and Phoebe
Our best attempt at a team photo.
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Wow. I am a little over 2 weeks from leaving. I am nervous & excited about the whole thing.

I want to share something that I am really excited about and has been in the works for some time. For the past 6 years we have been sponsoring a brother & sister through Compassion International. Compassion is an child-advocacy ministry that pairs up individuals (or families) with a child in a impoverished nation. Compassion provides many services to these children including medical, food, hygiene, education. This is all done in partnership with a local church.

Anyway, we have been sponsoring our kids Elinathan & Phoebe for quite some time. We exchange letters & photos and it's really rewarding. The thing is, Elinathan & Phoebe live in Tanzania which is exactly where I'll be. So I am staying in Tanzania for a few extra days to travel to their village & meet them and their family. There's just no way I could go halfway around the world to their home country and NOT meet them. I cannot wait. I am attaching their photos so you can see their sweet faces. Keep them, and us in your prayers.

I am also attaching a little preview of our documentary. Check it out. (language warning: there is one or two adult words)

Documentary preview
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It's been a while, but I wanted to update you all.

A couple weekends ago our team, the Cloudwalkers took a little trip to Taos, NM to do a 2 day practice hike. The first day we hiked up to around 12,500 feet (8 miles total, 4 up and 4 down). Even though we got to 12,500ft, we only hiked 2,500 ft since we started at 10,000.

The second day we only did 4 miles, but same vertical height, so it was much steeper.

Overall it was great. We all learned a lot about what we still need to do to prepare. Hiking at that high of an altitude presents all kinds of challenges, especially breathing. Hiking up a mountain as the air gets thinner and thinner is tough!

I got a couple of blisters on my legs for the first time ever. My knees were screaming at me on the second day, especially on the hike down. Everyone elses' were too so I don't feel as bad (thanks Motrin). My left knee has been acting up so I need to work on it some more (strengthening).

We are getting down to the final stretch. We did a 6 mile hike at a local park yesterday. The terrain wasn't too hard, but most importantly it was not much of a vertical hike so we did really well.

I am still working on a solution to get my hiking poles attached to my hands securely.

I hope to share an exciting announcement about the trip in the next week or two. Stay tuned!
Me headed up Wheeler Peak
The team, showing off our donated gear
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Hey everyone. I have been doing cardio training (running) the past few months, but we have also done several practice group hikes at parks around the San Antonio area in preparation for Kilimanjaro. Some hikes have been 3 miles, some have been 9 miles. Some have been on dry days, and some have been on really wet, rainy mornings, in the dark.

Although these hikes don't have the elevation aspect of Kilimanjaro, it has been really helpful for us to see as a team, and individually what we need to work on.

For instance, I discovered I *need* hiking poles. This means I need to find a way to get a solid enough grip on them which is tough, but I have some ideas that I am working on.

Thanks for all your support.
Taking a break at Lost Maples Park.
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Christopher Pickslay
31 months ago

Congrats Ian. This is so awesome and inspiring.

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$4,510 of $3,500 goal

Raised by 57 people in 45 months
No Longer Accepting Donations
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Created November 6, 2014
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Craig and Janet Croson
32 months ago

Will be praying daily for you bud! Glory to God for your amazing life and ministries yet to come!

32 months ago
Adam McManus
32 months ago

Ian, Just watched the inspirational video about you and your team of hikers. Incredible! We wish we could give more, but I know that every little bit helps. May the Lord protect you and your team on the journey. And may He use it mightily to motivate the rest of us to do something with our lives! :)

Davis Family
33 months ago

So proud of all that you have accomplished and the countless lives you have inspired!

33 months ago
33 months ago
34 months ago
Christopher Pickslay
31 months ago

Congrats Ian. This is so awesome and inspiring.

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