October 5, 2009
Arusha, Tanzania - Chris Waddell has become the first paraplegic to summit Africa's highest mountain. Mount Kilimanjaro stands at 19,340 feet. On September 30th, Waddell made it to the summit after pedaling a custom made handcycle over seven days. He hopes this achievement will bring attention to the disabled people of the world.
Having planned and trained for almost two years to climb Kilimanjaro, Waddell's climb began on September 24th. The well-known Paralympian climbed the mountain on his own power, only using assistance at 18,300 feet to get over a walled section of large boulders just below Gilman’s Point.
“There was that sense of heartbreak,” Waddell says in reference to crossing the boulder field. “But the idea was to make it to the top, and we did.”
Details of the expedition are chronicled in Waddell’s blog at www.one-revolution.org.
"The climb is only part of this incredible journey," says Waddell. "We want to help disabled people around the world be seen for who they are and to show what can be achieved." An African porter who had lost his leg in a rock slide years ago joined Waddell’s climb, and became the first Tanzanian amputee to summit Kilimanjaro. Tajiri was able to summit the mountain thanks to a $3,000 prosthetic leg from Waddell’s organization, One-Revolution and The Northstar Foundation. In addition to helping Tajiri, One-Revolution will be donating custom wheelchairs and handcycles to disabled people in Tanzania.
As a promising young skier at Middlebury College in 1988, a skiing accident left Waddell paralyzed from the waist down. Determined to get back on the slopes, he mastered the monoski and spent 11 years on the US Disabled Ski Team. In addition to Waddell’s impressive athletic achievements, he has found success as a motivational speaker – traveling the globe to inspire individuals and companies with his story
Waddell has been featured in numerous publications, including Outside Magazine, Skiing, Ski, National Geographic Explorer, and People Magazine named him one of “The 50 Most Beautiful People in the World.” He has also appeared on Dateline and Oprah.
The journey on Kilimanjaro’s was filmed for the upcoming documentary, One Revolution. For more information on Waddell’s historic climb, and how to donate to the foundation, visit www.one-revolution.com.
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