Tara Butcher and Erica Davis have teamed up to climb one of the most difficult mountains in the world – Mt. Kilimanjaro. Only a tiny percentage of the humans on the planet have ever made it to the top of Kilimanjaro. Butcher and Davis are facing an especially amazing challenge: the two of them suffered from severe spinal cord injuries.
According to a recent article in the Salt Lake City Tribune, a car going 72 mph on Interstate 5 in California hit Tara, leaving her with a spinal cord injury and only one leg. Erica suffered from a bleed in her spinal cord that left her paralyzed from the waist down.
The Challenged Athletes Foundation and the Corrective Holistic Exercise Kinesiology (CHEK) Institute brought the two would-be mountain climbers together to train in San Diego. Strangely enough, Tara told the Tribune that she would never have considered climbing a mountain before her injury.
Tara’s is a story of great triumph. The Tribune reported, ‘the accident made her get more active instead of less. It was a slow process. First, she acquired a special running leg to attach to her left leg. With it, she ran a mile, then two, then she participated in a 5K, then a 10K. In 2008, she ran the New York Marathon, finishing in about six hours.’
The CHEK Institute website reported on Tara and Erica’s progress:
That’s right, we are headed to Africa to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with a paraplegic athlete.Â Our goal is to raise awareness for individuals with physical challenges so they can participate and compete in the sports they love with portions of the proceeds to benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation. By providing opportunities and resources needed for active lifestyles, CAF enhances these individuals’ self-esteem, independence and quality of life.
This month the pair will head out from LAX to Tanzania to begin their mountain climbing adventure. We will continue to report on their progress up the mountain.
CHEK Institute. (January 17, 2010) ‘Can a Paraplegic Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro?’ Retrieved on January 17, 2010 from the CHEK Institute website: http://chekinstitute.com/kili
Wodraska, Lya. (January 17, 2010) ‘Wodraska: Challenged athletes take on big challenge.’ Retrieved on January 17, 2010 from the Salt Lake Tribune website:http://www.sltrib.com/sports/ci_14207755