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30 Jan, 2014

Climb Every Mountain…

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Climb Every Mountain…

The phrase ‘can’t be done’ simply does not feature in the vocabulary of the dynamic Lee Wyser, founder of the Guts 2 Glory Foundation. She is a winner of numerous national and provincial titles in body building and fitness competitions, as well as an experienced runner and triathlete, and for years she has been raising funds for athletes who require prosthetic limbs or wheelchairs in order to participate in endurance sports or body building. Her current goal is taking a group of disabled athletes to the 5945m summit of Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain on the African continent – including a wheelchair athlete!

 

“My sister Kimmy is brain damaged and I guess I have always had a passion for disabled people. In high school a friend’s mother worked at St Giles Home and when I had the time, I would help the disabled folk swim or play basketball and other sports,” says Lee. “Then one Saturday, I got the shock of my life when my youngest son Taylor injured himself on his quad bike at the beach. A life guard phoned me and said he was taking my son to hospital with a suspected broken back. On arriving at the hospital, I saw the look on my son’s face and for his sake, I had to remain strong. I have never prayed so hard in my life, and made a deal with God that if my son’s life was spared, I would dedicate my life to disabled people. Today, Taylor is a healthy, active young sportsman – I call him my miracle son – and I am carrying through on my end of the deal.”

 

Not long after Taylor’s recovery began, Lee began running with Ntsikilelo Mdladla, a single-leg amputee from Khayelitsha Athletics Club who lost his leg in a shack fire in 2007. They met at the Gun Run race in Cape Town, where Ntsi had done the 10km on crutches. “On that day I promised Ntsi that I would help him get a prosthetic leg and hopefully make the 2012 Paralympics. That was the birth of the Guts 2 Glory Foundation. Every weekend for two years, if we weren’t running races, we were competing in body building competitions, and two years later Ntsi had a prosthetic and a blade sponsored by Medi-Clinic. My dream is to raise funds for disabled athletes and underprivileged athletes and help them to make their dreams come true! I am truly blessed to be involved with all the athletes and sponsors of Guts 2 Glory!”

 

NO LIMBITS, NO LIMITS!

Fast forward to 2013 and Lee came up with the idea of taking a team of eight South African disabled athletes up Kilimanjaro in February 2014, led by SA Paralympian and single-leg amputee Heugene Murray. “The aim of our Ampt-a-manjaro No limits Kilimanjaro Expedition is to break the limiting belief that a disabled team could never conquer Mount Kilimanjaro, and through this, we want to raise funds for other disabled and underprivileged athletes,” says Lee. “Our goal is to make this climb an annual event and provide 1000 amputee children with prosthetics every year through the African Leg Project.”

 

Also part of the expedition to Tanzania will be American triple amputee and Ironman finisher Rajesh Durbal, who not only agreed to come out for the expedition, but also to run the Kilimanjaro Marathon a few days after the climb and ride the Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour once back in SA, and then also do a fundraising and motivational tour of South Africa to raise awareness of disabled sport. At the time of writing, the team was not yet sure if all the climbers would be able to go for the palnned summitting on 27 February, in which case Lee says another expedition will be arranged for later in the year. “We did think about postponing the whole trip until September, but Rajesh had already booked his flights, accommodation race entires and motivational talks, so we decided to go ahead now in February, even if just Rajesh, our team captain Heugene and I climb, along with the camera team and support crew. Then we will arrange a second expedition in September for the rest of the group to go, because I promised them a trip to Kili in 2014, but after that we definitely want to try make it an annual trip in February.”

 

To find out more about the Guts 2 Glory Foundation, follow the team’s progress or pledge your support for their fundraising efforts, visit www.guts2glory.co.za.