Many of you don’t follow me on social media, so I wanted to give you a little update. And then my plan is to write more in depth day by day updates from on top of the mountain. I also have video that I will share too - but I need some time to edit it all!
I’m back in New Jersey safe and sound and I know the first thing you want to know is “did you summit?” And the answer is yes!!! In fact all 9 of us did, which is incredible in of itself, add on to that, 4 of the team have Parkinson’s Disease.
Our team (or Kili9 as we’re now calling ourselves) were fantastic, I couldn’t have asked for a better group of people to share in this incredible experience. Each one of us brought something to the group with our knowledge and personalities, making us a true force. Of course it all helped that we had the same mission: raising critical funds for research (and ultimately a cure) for Parkinson’s Disease.
Together, the 9 of us spanned 6 decades, and with that came experience, wisdom and fun. There was Betty Frances Thomason just 19 whose dad has PD, Alex DiLalla, 28, diagnosed a year ago just two weeks before his wedding with early onset PD, Connie Qian, 32, whose father has PD, Laura Aldrich, 35, whose father passed away with PD, Justin Fields, 38, with early onset PD and a deep brain stimulator, Kristen Gillan, 46, whose mom is in the end stages of PD (and went on the Serengeti safari with Lucretia and I before the climb), me 47, my dad has PD, Mark Kohus, 52, diagnosed with early onset PD and Lucretia (my tentmate and who I had visited in NC a few weeks before the climb and gone to the Serengeti with) who is 67, has PD and is an absolute badass.
As I said, I’ll go into more detail in the coming week(s), but I didn’t want to go too long without sharing the amazing news that we all summited and that as a group we have now raised over $151,000!
It was a truly incredible experience, one that I will never forget and I have made friends for life along the way. I am so glad I signed up. The whole experience, from the months of training, the support of all of my friends and family and those that supported financially and towards my well being (acupuncture from Emily, mental, emotional and physical support from Sara, the crew at Jane Do, all the people that came on hikes with me - especially Shawn who hated every minute of them but came anyway), to actually being on the mountain and being supported by the guides and porters and especially the Kili9 and of course all of the people at Team Fox who had our backs and were thinking of us - and of course YOU - if you're reading this! It truly took a village to get me to the top of that mountain and the overwhelming love that I got from you all is what helped me get there. I wasn't going to give up because of you. THANK YOU.
From left to right: Connie (in the white hat), Betty, Kristen (in the back), Alex (in the orange jacket), Justin, Mark, Lucretia, Laura (in the back), me
We have put together a GoFundMe (read some of the porters stories) and Amazon Wishlist for the porters so that we can get them the hiking and camping equipment they need to keep them safe and uninjured on the mountain. We would love your support.
Day 1: Morum Barrier Gate to Shira 1 Camp, Wednesday August 9th, 2023
Day 2: Shira 1 Camp to Shira 2 Camp, Thursday August 10th, 2023
Day 3: Shira 2 Camp to Barranco Camp via Lava Tower, Friday August 11th, 2023
Day 4: Barranco Camp to Karanga Camp, Saturday August 12th, 2023