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Climbing For a Cause

6 women, 6 causes, 6 personalities, and one big mountain: Mt. Kilimajaro in Tanzania.

Inspired by Mahatma Gandi’s famous quote, “Be the change you want to see in the world,” Kimberly Meade wanted to make a difference. She had a vision, a dream, and was now ready to put it into action.

Founded by Kimberly Meade, the ONE team was developed as a way for women to raise awareness of pressing issues in the world, helping to not only empower themselves through fundraising and publicity, but also to empower the communities and non-profit each of them represented.

Through letter writing, grass roots organizing, and direct action team ONE inspired and changed thousands of people’s lives. By setting a goal, like summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro, ONE served as an inspiration and beacon to empowered individuals creating positive change.

While training to climb the highest mountain in Africa, each individual was raising money for the following organizations.

Habitat For Humanity
Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network
Adventures Without Limits
Treatment Action Campaign
International Mountain Explorers Connection

In June 2003, team ONE arrived in Moshi, Tanzania and, after one day of rest, began a seven-day climb on Mt. Kilimanjaro’s Machame Route. After their climb, they were going to volunteer at a number of charities in the region, from painting schools to volunteering in an orphanage. These women were actively trying to make a change.
In 2005, the ONE Team will travel again, perhaps Nepal or Peru, bringing their words into action.

What was the hardest part about the trip?
Group dynamics and weather! Be ready for anything! Mood swings. Good and bad. The difficult part was accepting each person way of coping with the climb itself. Some girls coped by chatting and singing while others needed silence. This presented us with some short lived, but unwanted conflict. Everyone had a bad day. Expect that you will not feel 100 percent at times it as if you are breathing through a straw. Your body needs to go extremely slow in order to manage with the depletion of oxygen, yet your mind is telling you to go faster. Advice: go slower then you want to especially in the beginning and your body will adapt and feel much better come time to summit!

What was the easiest?
Going to bed! You work hard ALL day moving ahead, slowly putting one foot in front of the next. Day after day you look forward to camp that night. The company makes the transition out of your boots into flip-flops extremely easy. Your porters will set up camp ahead of time, allowing you to arrive to tents eagerly awaiting your tired but exalted body the much needed rest it will need for the next morning.

Did you all summit?
I am happy to say, YES. The team of women that trained and planned to climb together ALL were able to summit! We were made up of a variety of ages, sizes and personalities. I attribute our success with a plethora of reasons: pure determination and a realistic mind-set being the most important. We checked in daily and helped each-other out when needed. With the exception of one of the women, none of us came to Africa to conquer and summit. We all wanted to grace Kilimanjaro with our presence, go as far as we could without putting ourselves in danger and enjoy the experience.

There’s so much to do, but I know if you put your heart and soul into doing something you are passionate about, it can be done.” – Kimberly Meade