This is a story about a woman from Sligo who rasied money for Barnardos by climbing Mt. Kilamanjaro.
Olivia Seery hadn’t seen Mt. Kilimanjaro is almost 30 years until she returned to climb it this September. Although she didn’t quite reach the summit, her efforts did have her reach another challenging goal – raising over €5,000 for Barnardos Children’s Charity, the largest such charity in Ireland.
Seery, who leads Landmark Education’s Self-Expression and Leadership Program in Ireland, created ‘Back to Africa for Ireland’s Children’ as her project while leading her latest course. The climb for charity was a stretch for Seery in more ways than one. Raising a large amount of money required a breakthrough in asking for things from others. It also required a breakthrough physically, as such a climb initially looked near impossible for the 66 year-old Seery.
It began with her building her aerobic endurance. She ran a number of 10k races, including one to raise money. She found other ingenious ways to meet her fundraising goal, including a quiz at a local pub, a cake sale at her church, and ‘Barnardos buckets’ at the checkout of her local supermarket.
She also created a donation page on the Barnados website, which still works for those who would like to contribute:
Seery also had to find hills to climb and workout equipment that would simulate climbing, as the midlands of Ireland are extremely flat and she was unused to any sort of climbing. She continued to work out vigorously over a three month period.
She left Ireland on September 8th and joined 17 others in the trek towards the summit. After three days, Seery reached the Mawenzi Tarn Camp at a height of 4,330 meters (over 14,000 feet), but it was clear at this point she would have to turn back – she was suffering from both altitude sickness and severe dehydration – and IV drip needed to be set up for her there.
Although Seery was unable to reach the summit, she had no regrets about her trip, having given it everything she had at all stages of the project. In all the training, fundraising, climbing and being taken down the mountain, Seery got connected to community and contribution in a way she never had before.