A Word From Our Executive Director
A few months ago I had the privilege of climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro as part of Save a Child’s Heart’s (SACH) Climb Your Heart Out (CYHO) campaign. Each climber had to raise $10,000 – not an easy task – that was designated to save the life of a child from Africa. At the same time as the climb, a SACH medical team was on a medical mission in Tanzania, where they performed the first pediatric cardiac surgery in the country. In the short time they were there, they performed surgeries on twelve children.
I can’t say climbing “Kili” was on my bucket list but the opportunity came up and I couldn’t resist, especially since my daughter Emma was both the campaign project co-coordinator, and one of the climbers. Climbing Kili was more beautiful and more challenging than I expected. People say that how well you do on the mountain is more a matter of how you react to the altitude than your fitness level. I’m happy to report that I was fine (although on the climb to the summit, my legs were so wobbly that one of the guides behind me tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I was sleeping!) I reached the summit, saw the beautiful views, and felt the exhilaration of having reached my goal – not to mention the thrill of standing on top of the tallest free standing mountain in Africa.
In truth, one of the most emotional moments of the trip for me was meeting the SACH medical team at the airport on the way back from the climb. It seemed like fate that just as we were passing the airport on our way back after the climb, the medical team was checking into the airport for their flight home. The two elements of the campaign came together, and for few minutes we could all share our pride in both the success of the climb and the medical mission. It felt good to be a part of it.
Words can’t adequately describe the experience of the climb, and more importantly, the wonderful work that Save a Child’s Heart did on the medical mission in Tanzania. Please take a few minutes to look at the following video. You might get a sense of climbing Kili without putting in all of the work.