Ain’t No Mountain High Enough
Speaking at two We Day events in Montreal, flying across the continent for a speaking engagement in Seattle the following morning and readying for another in San Francisco that same afternoon, Spencer West’s campaigning for his Redefine Possible initiative has been quite the journey. But it’s nothing compared to the challenge that awaits him at the end: climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
This June, West – who had both legs amputated at age five because of a genetic disorder – and his two best friends, Alex Meers and David Johnson, will begin their formidable 10-day trek up and down Africa’s highest mountain. “This is probably one of the biggest challenges that I’ve ever faced physically,” says the motivational speaker and leadership facilitator with Me to We, a social enterprise that utilizes profits to help fund its parent charity, Free The Children.
Although he leads school-building missions to Kenya and India every year, West candidly explains that he had never ran a fundraising mission until now. “It felt really dishonest for me to continue to tell students, ‘you need to fundraise or get involved’ when I had never done it myself.” West’s 20,000 -step expedition shows that he’s not one to talk the talk – he walks the walk.
As a child, doctors told West that he would never be a functioning member of society. His parents refused to believe this and instead, focused on his potential. “I attribute who I am today because of them, because of the sacrifice and what they did for me,” says the 31-year-old author, whose book, Standing Tall: My Journey, recounts the obstacles he’s overcome in life, and the people who have inspired him along the way. From physical difficulties to bullying, West looked towards a positive horizon by embracing support from his family, friends and mentors. Today, he’s putting that constitution to the test, hoping that this inspiring adventure to climb Mount Kilimanjaro will raise $500,000 to provide sustainable clean water to over 12,500 people living in various Free the Children communities throughout east Africa. “I think it’s really important to recognize that we all have the ability and the responsibility to lend a helping hand to someone who needs it,” he says.
To follow his journey or donate to the cause, visit: