Fundraising trio scaling great height

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Three Wanaka women will tackle the highest mountain in Africa to raise funds for children living in poverty.
Shelley Alexander, Raewyn Phipps and Vicki Spearing, all of Wanaka, will journey to Tanzania next week to begin a mission to reach the top of Mt Kilimanjaro, around 5895m above sea level — 2171m higher than New Zealand’s Mount Cook.
They would be part of a team of eight people aiming to raise up to $50,000 for children in Tanzania and Kenya.
The fundraiser was organised by So They Can, a charity founded by Cassandra Treadwell, of Wanaka.
Ms Treadwell, a finalist in the 2018 Women of Influence awards, said funds raised went directly to provide food and education for some of the poorest children in Africa.
‘‘It’s amazing the money we raise and what we can do for the children on the ground.
‘‘We have a firm philosophy around every child matters; it doesn’t matter where you live — every child matters.’’
Ms Spearing said the trip was a last-minute decision for her.
‘‘I was a walking buddy for a friend who was training for it, and she suggested I do it, too.
‘‘I thought it was a great idea for a fundraiser. Friends inspired me to climb a mountain that I thought would be quite unachievable.
‘‘This is pushing me, it will test every ability I’ve got, it will challenge me physically, mentally and emotionally.’’
Ms Spearing stressed fundraising was on top of the cost of the trip.
‘‘We pay for our trip, we pay for our flights, we pay for everything, and then we raise at least $4000 as well.’’
Mrs Alexander enjoys mountaineering in the Wanaka area and is training for the Kepler Challenge Mountain Run.
‘‘Anyone who knows me a little bit knows I love adventure.’’
As well as taking part in the climb, Mrs Alexander would spend time volunteering at a project in Kenya.
She would work for children at a school and orphanage funded by the charity, taking photos for a yearbook and working on data for the child sponsorship programme.
So They Can co-ordinator Ms Phipps said the charity organised a fundraising adventure every year.
Previous trips included a half­marathon across the Maasai Mara Game Reserve and a 200km cycle trip across the African savannah.