Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 00:37 AM EDT, 21 September 2012
The incredible story of a thirty-one year old Canadian, Spencer West exemplifies the essence of this quote.
In June 2012, West rose to international prominence after successfully climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro using only his hands because he has no lower body.
A challenging and favored adventure site for seasoned climbers, the 19,341 feet (5,895 metres) mountain is situated in Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania and is the highest mountain in Africa.
An undertaking of this magnitude seems unfathomable for someone who only trained for a year and desired to raise nearly $750,000 for charity based upon his ability to complete the ascent, but this is exactly what West did.
In 2008, he volunteered for a trip to Kenya with Free the Children to build a school. During this trip he began to formulate an idea on how he could contribute more to the charity. This idea coalesced into a fund raising climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for Clean Water projects in Africa.
Many people have successfully climbed Kilimanjaro, but none were born with a rare genetic disorder which required the amputation of both legs at the hip at five years of age. At that time West’s parents were told that he would never be able to sit up nor walk, but they chose wisely to redefine the possible and disregard these dire prognostications.
Instead they instilled in West an indomitable spirit so infectious that nothing seemed impossible. West grew up focusing on the possibilities that didn’t include accepting the limitations of his physique. He subsequently pursued a very active social life, completed high school, and university while simultaneously developing a strong sense of altruism.
So when West decided to embark on a campaign to raise funds for the charity most who knew him believed that he would succeed. He trained for nearly a year to condition his arms and upper body to handle the rigors of walking on his hands 80% of the time over the course of a seven day ascent to the summit.
View more photos of his courageous journey here, then head over to the Free the Children website to learn more about the project, to donate money, or read more about Spencer West.Follow Nahmias Cipher Report on Twitter Twitter: @nahmias_report
- Photos: Spencer West completes Edmonton to Calgary trek (metronews.ca)
- Man without legs climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro (cbsnews.com)
- Redefine Possible (forbes.com)
- Legless climber summits Kilimanjaro for charity (cbsnews.com)