7 Summits Starts Now

San Jacinto Peak, California

San Jacinto Peak, California

In late 2007, I began to pursue a life long dream of climbing the world’s Seven Summits, while raising funds and awareness for the women of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda. To date only 26 women have succeeded in this challenge, and I hope to become on of them. The Climb Take Action campaign is a grassroots initiative created to help women in Congo and Uganda get the necessary support in order for them to empower themselves. It will encourage others to participate in their own climb or challenge in order to raise funds and awareness for the cause as well.

I am a firm believer that actions speak louder than words. Thus, after coming across an article that depicted the horrific situation in the Congo, I knew I had to take action and not sit on the side lines. I immediately starting researching which organizations were already established in this region and providing humanitarian relief for these women. This is how I came to know of International Medical Corps (IMC), which has been working in Congo since 1999 (www.imcworldwide.com). I was really impressed with the work IMC was doing in Congo and I knew I had to reach out to them to see if there was a way I could help with their efforts. After meeting with the most amazing group of women at IMC and learning more about the crisis not only in Congo but also in Uganda, I was fully committed to creating a campaign to raise funds for their organization as I attempted to climb the Seven Summits.

Coming across that article was a real turning point for me. It motivated me to get started on my dream of attempting the Seven Summits because I knew it would be a great fundraising vehicle for this cause. Women in Congo and Uganda have been faced with civil conflict for over 21 years. Tens of thousands have been torn away from their families, murdered, adducted, brutally raped, tortured, and overall forgotten. After all that I have learned about these women, I feel a personal connection to them and view them as an image of strength. It is truly remarkable what some of these women have endured and yet survive and continue to fight to live and support their families. That is a true image and symbol of strength. They motivate me to be a woman of strength and make me want to conquer or at least try to conquer just about anything. Thus, I need to do something to help them. I think many women around the country will join me in that vision.

My goal is to raise both funds and awareness that will bring the physical, emotional, and financial resources necessary to help these women empower themselves. IMC’s mission is “From Relief to Self-Reliance,” and that is what we are hoping to achieve. Reaching the Seven Summits is a journey that develops and requires strength, confidence, and determination. I currently plan to raise $50 for every meter of each of the Seven Summits I plan to climb, which is approximately 43,324 meters, which equates to a $2,166,200. Every dollar raised can make a tremendous impact in the lives of these women and their children.

As, you may be wondering by now, I am not a professional climber by any means. I am currently Director of Development at a Los Angeles based residential real estate development firm and have a corporate background. Although I have always loved experiencing the outdoors, I got the hiking and climbing bug soon after starting my MBA program at LMU. Hiking was my mental escape from the corporate world, the text books, and got me immersed into nature. I definitely consider myself an amateur climber that has A LOT of training to do. Thus, in early 2008 I will be taking ice climbing lessons, joining an introductory winter mountaineering expedition, and climbing Mt. Rainer in late May prior to attempting my first summit. How long this journey will take is still to be determined, yet Summit number one is on the calendar and I will be heading to Russia in July. Mt. Elbrus Here I Come!

If you would like to learn more about my Climb Take Action~Seven Summits Challenge initiative or make a donation, please visit here. All donations are tax deductible and directly benefit International Medical Corps women’s programs in Congo and Uganda. For more information on International Medical Corps and the situation in Congo and Uganda please visit www.imcworldwide.org. Together we can make a difference!

I am currently seeking corporate sponsorships for this initiative and welcome any ideas, assistance, and support. I will keep you posted on my progress and on local fundraising events scheduled later this year. A Hike to Empower event is tentatively scheduled in Los Angeles for September 13, 2008. For more information please visit my website and join the mailing list.