TNT Magazine- What motivated you to travel the world and work on international development? Brad: From a young age,... Read more...
21st Jun 2012 5:16pm | By Rebecca Kent
A man with no legs has scaled Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the most gruelling treks in the world.
Spencer West used his hands to reach the top of the 19,341 ft African mountain, over seven gruelling days.
The Canadian had both of his legs amputated at the age of five after being born with a genetic disorder.
He trained for a year before setting off on his mission on June 12 with two pals.
Spencer, from Toronto, underwent the trek in aid of the Free the Children, which helps Kenyans affected by drought. He has so far raised £300,000.
Spencer is among the 50 per cent of climbers who attempt to reach the top of Kilimanjaro and actually make it.
“The moment the summit was within sight was incredible. The summit sign seemed almost like a mirage.
“We looked around and realised that, after seven gruelling days of relentless climbing, after 20,000 feet of our blood, sweat, tears and vomit we had actually made it.
“The bleeding fingers and blisters were all worth it.”
Spencer used his wheelchair for just 20 per cent of the tough ascent, using his hands for the rest.
He said his achievement proved wrong doctors who told him he would never be a functioning member of society due to his disability.
“I set out to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro not only to redefine what’s possible for me, but to inspire others to overcome obstacles and challenges of their own, and to give back to communities, that need our help.
“Reaching the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro was the most mentally and physically challenging thing I have ever done, but in doing so, it reinforced the powerful message behind believing in yourself, and believing in others.
“So many people made this journey possible for me and I am so humbled by everyone’s support.”