Climbing for a Cause: Woman Climbs Kilimanjaro for Cancer Research
As an avid climber with more than 20 years of experience, Melanie Levesque has always dreamed of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. This month, she will not only make this dream a reality, but will also help cancer patients in the process.
On December 8, 2014, Levesque, 44, will begin a week-long, 19,341-foot climb of the highest mountain in Africa—Mt. Kilimanjaro. She is using the expedition to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (through the Jimmy Fund) as part of the “Climb For Life” fundraiser.
As a wife and the mother of two teens, her inspiration for helping this cause is the memory of her own mother, who passed away from cancer 16 years ago—an experience that was extremely hard on her family, and one that remains close to her heart to this very day.
Ever since climbing Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire with a friend in her early 20s, Levesque has been hooked on climbing. Since then, she has made a point to climb Monadnock at least once a year, bringing someone new with her each time in the hopes that some of her love for the sport will rub off.
Over the past decade, Levesque’s love for climbing has also taken her on a number of adventures that many would find crazy—such as hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim in 111 degree weather—which, ultimately, has helped prepare her (both physically and mentally) for her Kilimanjaro climb.
In addition to years of developing necessary climbing skills and knowledge, Levesque has committed to a rigorous training regimen leading up to her Kilimanjaro climb by incorporating 5 a.m. workouts every day, as well as 8 to 12 mile hikes every weekend.
To raise funds for Dana-Farber, Levesque set up the website ClimbForLife2014.com, which allows anyone interested in contributing to put together a group to go on a hike, with a minimum donation of $20 per hiker. Levesque then assesses the group’s ability and picks out a hike for them.
On her Climb For Life fundraising page, Levesque writes, “Mt. Kilimanjaro, or ‘Mountain of Greatness’ as the Swahili word means, is the highest free-standing mountain in the world, towering above the African plain at 19,341 feet above sea level. It is my great honor and privilege to pay tribute to our loved ones who have been lost to this disease and to those that have survived and are still fighting by bringing my love of hiking and climbing together with this fundraising effort.”
Surpassing her fundraising goal of $10,000 before her climb has even begun, Levesque’s Climb For Life fundraiser is not only helping to spread awareness about the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s mission, but also helping in the search for a cure of cancer.
As a proud representative and supporter of charitable causes, ZARA Tours is always pleased to hear about inspiring people and stories such as this—especially when they take place in our own backyard. To learn more about Melanie Levesque’s story and/or to support her on her journey, visit her fundraising page or check out a recent press release leading up to her journey here.
For more information on ZARA Charity and how you can make an impact on your next adventure through ZARA Tours, visit www.zaracharitytanzania.org.