Just a few weeks ago, 26 fundraisers from seven countries were making their way up Mount Kilimanjaro. They’d already raised over $410,000 between them to fund research towards a cure for CML (Chronic Myeloid Leukemia). Now, their mission was to reach the summit at 5,985 metres and then descend two thirds of the way back down the mountain in one gruelling 16 hour trek. With them was a team doctor, a team leader, a charity representative and a crew of 83 to make it all possible.

“My first challenge but it was the perfect way to meet new friends, discover new places, challenge myself while supporting a noble cause! In brief, it was a life changing, unforgettable experience.” – Rihab Nasr (Lebanon)

Taking their final steps upwards just before sunrise, the group — from Australia, Switzerland, Lebanon, America, and beyond — were united by more than just the inspiring sight stretching out before them. Participants included leading CML doctors and researchers, two participants living with CML and the chair of the charity and top researcher in Adelaide, Tim Hughes, who fundraised an inspiring $19,138 himself.

Katia from Brazil says, “[It was] the most amazing experience I’ve ever had, not only about climbing Kilimanjaro, but making this as a group and sharing the experience.”

As an international organisation, with headquarters in the UK and supporters located around the world, iCMLF was strategic in their approach recruiting a mix of industry leaders, charity representatives and international supporters.

“It made me believe incredible things can be achieved with inspired people.” – John Young (Australia)

Inspired’s own Head of Client Services, Imogen Bidmead, accompanied the group as team leader. She reflects on the experience:

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro shot to the top of my bucket list when I was first in Tanzania 10 years ago. There’s nothing quite like the sight of it rising up out of the African plains. So, when I started at Inspired Adventures and found that Kilimanjaro was one of our most popular adventures, my desire to one day conquer Africa’s highest peak was well and truly cemented!

It was my privilege to accompany Team iCMLf last month as team leader on their Climb for a Cure.

After checking through my packing list what felt like a hundred times, I was ready as I could ever be. Meeting the local team in Tanzania immediately put my mind at ease. Their experience, professionalism and friendliness made the whole challenge seem more achievable. With a team of 26 participants and 83 ground crew, the total team was a massive 110 people!

We set off under towering trees filled with Colobus monkeys swinging from the branches above. We knew we were in for something special right from the start! The first few days were challenging, but we had time to get to know each other and even play a game of cricket with our local ground crew on acclimatisation day.

When summit night came, we set out at 11:00pm from base camp in order to have the best shot at reaching the summit for sunrise. A long five-hour climb up the side of Kili got us to Gilman’s Point. Then we watched the sun come up in spectacular fashion as we made our way across the top of the crater to Uhuru Peak. We’d done it! Despite the freezing temps and high winds, we were elated. Big team, big dreams!

Despite years of talking, researching and dreaming of climbing Kili, nothing quite prepared me for quite how epic and challenging adventure would be. I’m already planning my next Kilimanjaro climb!

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