BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – Mount Kilimanjaro is not just any mountain. It’s one of the world’s largest freestanding mountains.
On March 8, 2014, sportscaster Rachel Baribeau and nine other people will travel to Africa to climb the 19,000-foot volcanic mass in support of their cause – to raise money for the Kevin Turner Foundation.
“We’re climbing for everybody that has ALS, because if you think about it, every day they climb a mountain just to survive this disease,” Baribeau said.
The goal is to raise $100,000 for the foundation, which is a non-profit named after former NFL player and Alabama standout Kevin Turner. Turner was diagnosed with ALS in 2010.
“That money will fund awareness, because a lot of people still don’t know what ALS is,” said Craig Sanderson.
For two weeks, the group will leave behind everything and everyone they love to unite for a common goal.
Sanderson knows all too well the impact ALS can have on those afflicted with the disease.
His friend and former college roommate, Turner, have been tackling the disease together since they heard the announcement four years ago.
“My family and I have been with Kevin since the diagnosis,” Sanderson said.
Turner didn’t take the diagnosis lying down. Instead, the former New England Patriot returned to the spotlight as the face for ALS.
His drive helped create the Kevin Turner Foundation, but it would be his sincerity and kind heart that inspires others to champion with him.
“I was so inspired by his courage in the face of such a despicable disease,” Baribeau said.
When she told Turner about her plans to raise money by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, she says Turner was speechless.
“I remember telling him and there was silence on the other end of the line, and I don’t know for a fact he was crying, but I felt like he teared up,” Baribeau said. “He just kept saying thank you over and over again.”
The trip is expected to take two weeks, with one week dedicated solely to climbing up and down the mountain.
Because the trip will be documented from beginning to end, the climbers hope it will inspire others.
Copyright 2014 WIAT-CBS42