As shown by other posts on this site, Mount Kilimanjaro has been the setting for a number of truly inspirational personal feats, with various records being broken along the way.
The latest addition to the list of Kili record breakers is a particularly remarkable and inspiring young South African woman by the name of Chaeli Mycroft, who at the beginning of September spent her 21st Birthday becoming the first female quadraplegic to summit Africa’s highest mountain.
Chaeli made the ascent in a custom-built, lightweight and ultra-manoeuvrable wheelchair, pushed and pulled by two of the seven team members from the “Chaeli Kili Climbers”.
The climbing group had been planning the Kilimanjaro trip for two years before travelling from Cape Town to Tanzania in late August. Among the many challenges to consider, was Chaeli’s susceptibility to sudden temparature drops.
Chaeli has cerebral palsy and has spent her entire life in a wheelchair. But this hasn’t stopped her from achieving a number of notable feats before she even considered climbing Kili.
Chaeli co-founded The Chaeli Campaign at just nine years old, with her older sister Erin and a group of close friends. Today, the Chaeli Campaign has nine different programmes and assists over 5,000 South African children a year, providing wheelchairs and a number of disability services.
In 2011, Chaeli won the International Children’s Peace Prize and in 2012, she became the first-ever recipient of the Nobel Peace Laureate’s Medal for Social Activism.
Chaeli was also a youth keynote speaker at the 2012 Unesco conference in Paris on Inclusive Education, and then in 2013 she was awarded the World of Children Youth Award in New York.
Speaking before her successful climb, Chaeli said “It’s going to be a once in a lifetime kind of experience. Our message is not solely about climbing physical mountains, it’s about people working together towards something that’s epic. . . It’s more about working together to reach the top, rather than being the first female quadriplegic.”
We’d like to congratulate Chaeli on her incredible feat and we hope she’s getting some well-earned rest. But judging from her CV, we doubt she’ll be resting on her laurels for long.