And They’re Off to Climb Kili!

The Sam’s Furniture Kilimanjaro Climb for a Cause is FINALLY HERE!

After months of preparation and training, the Climbing Team has arrived in Tanzania!

The “Kili Climb for a Cause” Climbing Team, sponsored by Sam’s Furniture in Springdale, Arkansas, includes owners, Joe & Larra Donaldson, a video production team, and ten Veterans – four of which are Purple Heart recipients (single- and double-limb amputees).

Be sure to watch our Facebook & Instagram pages (@SheepDogIA) as well as our website for updates on their progress.

And once they hit the trail, click this link to see where they are at LIVE!

Our Kili Climbers on the bus in Tanzania.

Meet Our Purple Heart Recipient Climbers

While on his second tour during Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005, Sgt Galloway lost his left arm above the elbow, his left leg above the knee, and suffered numerous other injuries. But he had lost more than two limbs…he had lost his purpose. For five years he was in a deep depression and self-medicated with alcohol. When he finally accepted his losses and focused on what he had, Galloway was able to fight his way out of his depression.Galloway went to Iraq knowing he might die. I was prepared to die” he said, “but I wasn’t prepared for the in-between.” As a double amputee Combat Veteran, SPC West has many accomplishments, including running the Marine Corps Marathon 10K, and has hiked Glacier Point in Yosemite. Adventures keep West positive and able to prove to himself that he can still overcome challenges despite his injuries. He is excited to add summitting Mount Kilimanjaro to his accomplishments, and looks forward to creating friendships and bonds with his team while supporting each other to complete this climb.
Staff Sergeant Travis Strong served in the US Army for 11 years. On November 27, 2006, Strong was hit by an explosively formed penetrator (EFP) in the northeastern district of Baghdad called Shula. The EFP ripped through the Stryker ICV vehicle Strong was in, taking off his right leg instantly and leaving his left leg severely damaged. His brothers in arms kept him stable and rushed him back to Camp Liberty to the field Hospital. SSG Strong flatlined 4 times that night but he continued to fight, eventually waking up in the Baghdad hospital where he found out that he lost both his legs above the knees. Despite the loss of his legs, SSG Strong continues to push his limits and strives to inspire people by his actions.  Climbing Kilimanjaro has been a lifelong goal and he will complete the entire ascent and descent while hopping – using only his hands and arms. “If what I am doing inspires just 1 person to change their mind about taking their life or hurting themselves,” Strong said, “then all the pain I go through is worth it.”
As a double amputee Combat Veteran, SPC West has many accomplishments, including running the Marine Corps Marathon 10K, and has hiked Glacier Point in Yosemite. Adventures keep West positive and able to prove to himself that he can still overcome challenges despite his injuries. He is excited to add summitting Mount Kilimanjaro to his accomplishments, and looks forward to creating friendships and bonds with his team while supporting each other to complete this climb.
Not long after high school graduation, Gallegos joined the Marine Corps and was attached to a Marine Expeditionary unit that trained and responded to various countries in the Pacific Asia area. He deployed to Sangin, Afghanistan, as a rifle team leader with 3rd Battalion 5th Marines, Gallegos was wounded on a dismounted patrol entering a canal; the blast killed his squad leader. He was transported to San Antonio Military Medical Center and spent months enduring a dozen surgeries to repair his back and arm, which he  lost above the elbow. He has spent several years in occupational and physical therapy and continues to work with companies to improve prosthetics. He has competed in biathlons, 10 Spartan races with teams of first responders and Sheep Dogs, and many other events. SSGT Gallegos works very hard on maintaining high-level physical health to mitigate advanced injuries as well for pain management while he attends the University of the Incarnate Word as a finance major.

WHY ARE WE CLIMBING?

The Kilimanjaro Climb for a Cause was created to inspire all individuals to face challenges head-on and work to overcome them. Summiting Kilimanjaro is a huge undertaking and accomplishment for a person without physical injuries to deal with. For those like our Purple Heart recipients who have suffered limb loss while serving our country, the challenge rises exponentially. But they will face this challenge as they have every other challenge set before them – with grit, determination and heart.

Through this climb, we want to show the world that you can accomplish anything. It is a demonstration of will, an example to all people that you should never give up on your dreams. That no matter the challenge in your life, don’t stop challenging yourself and living your best life. #StruggleWell #NoExcuses

SUPPORT OUR CLIMBERS!

As we are sure you can imagine, an adventure of this significance will take a lot of funding and logistics to be successful. While we are extremely grateful for the generosity of the Donaldsons, we invite YOU to support our climbers, too!

What an incredible opportunity this is. Imagine knowing the honor and pride you’ll feel as you follow along their journey to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro, and being able to say you played a part in getting them there!

How Can You Help? Make a donation directly to the adventure.

About The Climb and Mt. Kilimanjaro

Reaching 19,342 ft in elevation, Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa and the world’s largest free-standing mountain. It is comprised of three volcanic cones – Mawenzi (extinct), Shira (extinct) and Kibo (dormant). The highest point on Kibo’s crater rim is called Uhuru, the Swahili word for “freedom.” The group will be climbing the 70 km/42 mile, 7-day Lemosho Route, which starts in lush, fertile rain forest. It is the first of four ecological zones encountered on Kilimanjaro. The route heads up and across the Shira Plateau, then turns north to Moir Hut. Next, they will climb high up and over Lava Tower before dropping into Barranco Valley, one of the prettiest areas on the entire trail. Then they will face the intimidating Barranco Wall, and circle along the southern circuit to Karanga and high camp Barafu Hut. The summit attempt to Uhuru is made from Barafu in the early morning hours, often during the full moon. This is the coldest, windiest section on the trail, but once the sun comes up, temperatures are more comfortable. After the summit, the descent follows the Mweka trail.

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