Climbing Kilimanjaro for a Cause

by Tim Ward 11/06/2014 2:11 pm EST

One of my wife’s dearest friends, Cidalia Luis-Akbar, is about to do a crazy, amazing thing: In two weeks she and her sister Natalia Luis are climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise $500,000 for Children’s Hospital in Washington DC, and to mark their own victories over personal struggles. They have never done anything like this before. My wife tells me she’s not even sure Cidalia has ever been camping.

Cidalia tells me she was inspired to do the climb by my book, Zombies on Kilimanjaro, which was about my own trek up the mountain with my 20-year-old son Josh. Indeed, climbing Kilimanjaro is a transformational, life-changing experience for pretty much everyone who makes the journey. Remarkably, many individuals like Cidalia and Natalia take the additional step of putting their personal journey in the service of a greater cause. Even celebrities get into the act: Hollywood movie star Jessica Biel climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for The Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program, and a British group of comedians (including X-Factor judge Cheryl Cole) raised money to help Africans combat malaria through a charity called Comic Relief. (Click to read more)