I may have managed to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, but one thing I didn’t manage to do was use my climb to raise money and awareness for a good cause. If you’ve read my book, Kilimanjaro Diaries, you’ll know that I made light of the fact that all Kili climbs seem to attract people yearning to do good, and that I seemed to be the lone exception.
I didn’t need a cause. I just wanted to get out of cooking duties for a week.
But it’s really no laughing matter and I have the utmost respect for people who DO find a good cause for their own mountain climb, especially if such a climb takes them far out of their comfort zone.
I’d like you to meet such an aspiring climber. Elyse Hood, a mother of twin boys and also my friend and tennis partner (who can out-lob you any day!), has decided that she’d like to set an example for her children and do something she’s never done before, in order to help oppressed and enslaved women and children.
Elyse will soon set sail for Europe to hike the French Alps as part of Freedom Climb. My thoughts (and a good chunk of my Kili equipment) will travel with her as she puts one foot in front of the other, wondering if she’ll endure until the next camp, and whether a clean toilet – any toilet – might be awaiting her there. She is almost halfway to reaching her fundraising goal – an impressive number – and appreciates any support you might be able to give (there is a donation link a the bottom). But chiefly she’d like to tell you about the cause that has become so dear to her heart:
I am climbing in the 2015 Freedom Climb Summer Haute to raise funds for women and children who are oppressed, enslaved, exploited, and trafficked. The funds I am raising go to provide vital services to women and children through Operation Mobilization’s Freedom Climb projects around the world. These projects help to break the cycles of poverty, shame, slavery, and despair through prevention, rescue, rehabilitation and development.
The climbers are voices for the voiceless; for those unable to declare freedom in their lives and climb out of circumstances on their own. This is what motivates me as I consider my own life of freedom and opportunity relative to those who are served by Operation Mobilization services.
• 30 million people are enslaved today
• 80% are women and children
• the average age a child is forced into prostitution in the US is 12-14 years old
Richard and I took Jack and James down to visit family in South Florida for Spring Break. While we were there, my brother and sister-in-law invited us to their family church for a fun Saturday evening Chili cook off. The women at Advent Lutheran in Boca Raton shared stories of their recent Freedom Climb to Mount Kilimanjaro!
I was so impressed! My first reaction was, ¨I would love to do that but, I can’t . . . I have the boys, they will be out of school for the summer, we are so busy. . .¨
My new friend, Debbie, and I discussed the fact that she had to leave her family and kids for her climb. Her kids were proud that she didn’t just preach about helping others, she did it!! When I asked my boys what they thought of Mommy going to climb a mountain for 8 days to help women and children, they said, ¨that would be awesome, we would be proud of you helping kids.¨
So . . . guess what I’m doing???
Each climber pays their own expenses and we are additionally challenged to raise $16,000 for Operation Mobilization.
I know that everyone has a cause that is near and dear to their heart. I promise to make sure your gifts are well spent and that I share the journey with you.
Will you help? Any contribution, no matter how large or small, is valuable.
Thank you in advance for your support, prayers and donations!
“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.”— Proverbs 31: 8-9 NLT
Blessings, Elyse Hood
But enough talk – just give us a mountain!