I came across a brilliant quote today: “Everyone has mountains to climb … sometimes those mountains are in our minds … True triumph is about trying, whatever the result.”
These wise words came from Bernard Goosen, a man I admire for his determination and strength despite the obstacles and adversity he has faced in life. Bernard didn’t let a little thing like being in a wheelchair stop him from achieving the seemingly impossible – reaching the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
As someone who has taken on the challenge once before – and is limbering up for a second ascent this Saturday – I’m in awe of Bernard’s achievement. A trek up Africa’s highest peak isn’t to be taken lightly; 40% of attempts to reach the top are thwarted by exhaustion or illness, equating to 12,000 trekkers per year failing to make it. Bring a wheelchair into the equation and the fact he completed the trek is all the more amazing.
After my own successful climb last year, and the incredible joy I felt from reaching the top, I’ve decided to do it again this year. The difference this year is that I’ve inspired 18 others to do it with me, so I’ll be leading them to Uhuru Peak – the highest point on Kilimanjaro. No pressure, then.
Knowing the physical and mental demands required to reach the top successfully has made the preparation even more important to me this year. While I’ve been doing a reasonable amount of exercise to ready my body for reaching such high altitudes, the mental preparation has been just as important. Remembering that I, and many others before me, have completed the trek and remaining in a positive state of mind while I’m up there are the keys to a successful summit attempt. Bernard’s words will help me, too. While I’m teetering on the edge this time next week, having to reach deep down inside for every last bit of motivation to beat the fatigue, I’ll remember Bernard’s wise words, and it’s that that will give me courage and inner strength to reach the top.
I’ll let you know how I go when I reach the other side. And if you’d like to help me raise money for the incredible work that FairTunes does to enhance the lives of people in developing nations through music, I’d be eternally grateful if you’d sponsor me.
You can reach my donation page at www.mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/fairtunesianyoung.
Wish me luck!
This is a story that needs to be told. Well, at least I need to tell it. I’m bound by my commitment to return the favour that the Spirit of the Universe deemed appropriate for me to recover, to then pass it on.