When Spencer West was just five years old he lost both of his legs, now as an adult he can claim something few people in general can claim, he has climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro’s 19,300 foot summit, a venture that takes nearly 20,000 “steps” to complete.
To traverse the summit West used a wheelchair on easier terrain and was carried over a few patches that were too tough to traverse without legs.
Spencer completed 80% of the climb on his own and after the journey he told the Toronto Star:
“It’s literally climbing the largest mountain on Africa on your hands. I don’t know if it can get much more challenging than that.”
West was born with a rare genetic disorder called sacral agenesis which led to the amputation of his legs below the pelvis. After the surgery West says it was his parents treating him normally and giving him confidence that led him to believe in his ability to tackle any obstacle.
To finish his climb West trained for one year and he planned to raise $750,000 for Free the Children‘s clean water program in Kenya. So far Spencer West has raised $500,000 of that goal.
When asked about his trek he provided a simple yet optimistic outlook on life in general:
“We all have the ability to redefine what is possible—whether you’re missing your legs or not. Everyone has challenges and challenges can be overcome.”
With Kilimanjaro now behind him it will be interesting to see if he can find something even more challenging to take on next.