Mt. Kilimanjaro looms 19,340 feet above Tanzania and on September 12th 2011, a group of baby boomer women from Houston, Texas began their attempt to take the summit.
This was not your average group of women. Each of them had faced major life challenges and many continue with their battles against ovarian and breast cancer, as well as HIV and rheumatoid arthritis. The project was coordinated and led by Shana Ross, founder of Shana RossFitness in Houston, Texas and inspired by her longtime client Becky Pope who was diagnosed with Stage 3 ovarian cancer in 2008.
Their stories of triumph over adversity, recovery, and reinvention of each of these women will be chronicled in the upcoming book "We Choose to Climb" being written by fitness/lifestyle expert Shana Ross.
The short video above gives you a glimpse into our journey to the summit. We each agree that it was the most challenging thing we've ever done. None of us realized how far we could push ourselves, physically and mentally, until summit night. We were tested to our limits and beyond.
The inspiration for our project, Becky Pope was diagnosed three weeks before our departure to Africa with her second recurrence of ovarian cancer. She had surgery one week after our return to remove cancerous tumors from her liver (yes, she climbed anyway and reached the summit). Once again we marched through chemo with her and celebrated her triumph once more.
Sadly, the good news faded fast and in August 2012, Becky got the news that the cancer was back in her liver and growing quickly. A clinical trial would be her only hope.
In the early morning hours of March 24, 2013, Becky completed her earthly journey and reached the ultimate summit of having lived a life filled with joy. She inspired all she touched and continues to be a huge part of the lives of each of the women of Project Kilimanjaro.
Listen to our stories here and perhaps you'll find the inspiration to Live Life Like You Mean It and face each day with joy.