It was a regular Saturday afternoon and I get a call from Adamo Mariani. First thing he says: “Are you ready to do 2 amazing things with me?”
I, very intrigued with Adamo’s proposition, respond “yes!” having seen his Mtl blurb video instructing everyone and anyone to say yes to absolutely everything… Such great advice!
Adamo goes on to say, “You and I are going on a spiritual adventure – we’re climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in January 2017. And! We’re going to raise 30k for doing it to donate to the S.M.A foundation!”
For those who don’t know, S.M.A stands for Spinal Muscular Atrophy. It is a rare neuromuscular disorder characterised by loss of motor neurons and progressive muscle wasting, leading to mobile impairment, and often to early death.
I, speechless for about 30 seconds, said to this guy, “Are you friggin insane?!” He told me all about his bucket list and how much he has always wanted to climb this Mountain. Me on the other hand… Not so much. Why? Spiders! Africa has the biggest spiders in the world!!! I’ve always wanted to stay far, far away! By the way, did you know Mount Kilimanjaro is the 4th highest mountain in the world? Or that it is 3/4 quarters of the height of Everest!? I’ve seen too many documentaries about mountain climbing and I always thought those people to be crazy! Why would I ever want to climb a mountain and risk losing a limb or even my life. No way!
Then I thought about Sammy.
Sammy is his cousin, battling S.M.A since birth. He is now 16 years old. Sammy struggles daily just to get through his day to day. He is such a strong and courageous person. I realized that I am fortunate enough to even be physically capable to consider going.
I thought about all the families that have been affected by S. M. A. And the lives they lead. It is such a horrible illness and it is heartbreaking to see so many people suffering from it.
I knew I could not pass up this opportunity. I shouldn’t even dare to think of passing it up. How dare I take what I’ve been given in my life for granted.
So did I said yes right after this reflection? Nope. But I did give him a HUGE maybe!
I wanted to see how serious he was about this. Also, we would need to get in shape!
Apparently, it is easier to climb a mountain with less muscle mass, but I don’t believe him. Either way, I suggested we start small with a test hike up Mount Royal. I wanted to see where his head was at. 4 hours later, we were at the cross looking over the city. I saw how determined he was in seeing this through to the end.
I realized that this would not only be for a great cause, but it would be a life changing experience. For me, it is the exact opposite of checking an item off a bucket list. I need to do this to get out of my comfort zone and to challenge myself. An 8 day challenge for me vs. a lifetime challenge for Sammy? It’s a no brainer!
Do I know Sammy very well? Not really. I’ve only met him a few times at the S.M.A fundraisers.
Does that matter? Not at all. You don’t need to know someone very well to realize how hard their life must be and to appreciate their struggle. More importantly, you don’t need to know them at all to want to help.
Sammy is now 16 years old now – this is amazing. This would not have been possible without the funds that have been raised progressively throughout the years through this foundation. This is why I truly believe in the cause. Every little bit helps. Every contribution matters.
So there it is…
Mount Kilimanjaro, you’re mine to conquer and you will serve an important purpose to bettering countless peoples’ lives. I’ll meet you at the top.
Please donate and see how far your generosity will go!