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20-Year-Old Quadriplegic Woman Prepares to Summit Kilimanjaro

Chaeli Mycroft is looking to make history by becoming the first female quadriplegic to summit Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, and she’s inviting the world along with her.

Image courtesy of The Chaeli Campaign

Mycroft, who was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 11 months old, will begin her adventure on Thursday, August 27, according to CNN. The University of Cape Town student and her team are expected to take seven days to complete the trek, spending five nights climbing the 19,340-foot mountain and two nights on the descent. Mycroft, 20, will be documenting the hike with live video and social media updates on Discover Africa, a website that specializes in safaris and expeditions all over Africa.

To prepare for the climb, Mycroft worked with Carel Verhoef‚ an East African travel expert at Discover Africa. She tested a few local trails in her custom wheelchair and went to a simulated altitude chamber to get a feel for how her body would handle the elevation increase. After a successful overnight trek to Table Mountain in South Africa, Mycroft and her team set the date for climbing Kilimanjaro.

Image courtesy of The Chaeli Campaign

Mycroft will be joined by six teammates (known collectively as the “Chaeli Kili Climbers“), two of whom will be pushing and pulling her.

I’m not stressing about the mountain,” Mycroft told CNN. “I have full confidence in my team and our ability to work together. If anything goes wrong, I know that we can find a solution. We have a very strong-minded group of people. I think you need that in order to be successful.”

Mycroft isn’t just looking to break records. She’s also fundraising for The Chaeli Campaign, a charity that assists children with disabilities throughout South Africa. Mycroft launched the organization when she was just 9 years old, according to CNN and has received a number of honors over the years, including the International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011 and the Medal for Social Activism at the Nobel Laureate Peace Summit in 2012.

Even better than raising awareness for an amazing cause and climbing the tallest peak in Africa? Mycroft will be celebrating her 21st birthday on the second day of the ascent, according to Discover Africa.

To learn more about Mycroft and her amazing journey, check out the The Chaeli Kili Climbers Facebook page and The Chaeli Campaign’s official website.