Friday, April 17, 2009

Climb Up so Kids with AIDS Can Grow Up

AAI is a national sponsor of the program "Climb Up the 50," a fund raising event May 23-31 in which hikers and climbers will be scaling the highest peak in each of the fifty states. The funds that are raised will cover the cost of desperately needed AIDS-related medications, supplies, and food for children infected with the disease in the hardest-hit countries, including Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe. The lead organization is the American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA).

Many climbers are inspired to join the effort because even modest amounts of fund raising can do so much. Thanks to the participation of generous donors, each dollar allows AFCA to distribute and deliver great quantities of life-saving medicine to HIV positive children, and thanks to the efficiencies of AFCA, none of the money raised is spent on overhead and administrative costs: 100% of it goes to benefit the children.

Think about being a part of this effort! Register here.

Here's an article that was recently published on the Huffington Post:

To raise funding and awareness for children living with AIDS in Africa, the tallest mountain peak in every state in America will be scaled this spring. The American Foundation for Children with AIDS (AFCA), in partnership with the American Alpine Institute, is sponsoring "Climb Up the 50."

Funding from this dramatic, synchronized climb-a-thon will pay for the uphill battle to support children with AIDS. Funding will cover AIDS-related medication, supplies, and food for children infected with the disease in the hardest-hit countries, including Kenya, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.

The program includes Climb Up the 50, Climb Up the World, and Climb Up Kilimanjaro.

Climb Up the 50 is based in the U.S, with participants climbing or hiking up the highest point in their state sometime during May 23-31. Teams of people will join to climb the highest peak in their state.

Florida has the lowest peak, with an elevation of only 345 feet above sea level. The highest peak in the country is found in Alaska -- Denali (Mount McKinley) -- at over 20,000 feet above sea level. A team's goal is to raise $5,000 for the organization while individuals raise either $90, $180, or $360.

Climb Up the World participants can engage in the event by running, climbing, hiking or cycling -- where ever in the world they are -- on September 19 or 20.

Each person who registers to take part in the event can either raise $90, $180, or $360. Each amount is the equivalent of 3 months, 6 months, or one full-year of life-saving medication for a child. The $25 registration fee covers all administrative costs so all raised donations will be used for AFCA-related programs. Teams raise $5,000.

The Climb Up Kilimanjaro is the most daring event. The team consists of 12 brave people who will climb up Mount Kilimanjaro -- at 19,330 feet, the highest peak in Africa. The Kilimanjaro team wishes to raise $10,000 per person to cover costs of climbing and the money needed for the AFCA's initiatives. This 10-day climb will take place Sept. 11-24.

The mountain climbing apparel manufacturer Merell has agreed to donate the footwear needed to the 12 members of the Kilimanjaro team.

Tanya Weaver, executive director of the AFCA says, "AFCA has received tremendous support from the climbing community around the world. We think the challenge of climbing to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro is an appropriate symbol for the uphill battle HIV/AIDS children face."

This viral event is not just limited to climbing. The AFCA invites anyone and everyone to climb, hike, bike, or run for whatever distance to raise money for the children.

Corporations are encouraged to either sponsor, match donations, or organize a team of their own. Non-participants of the fundraiser can go the AFCA's website for the program and sponsor one of the climbers for the Climb Up Kilimanjaro part of the program.

The AFCA's aid in HIV/AIDS stricken countries does not go unnoticed. Children who have received care from hospitals funded by the organization have sent letters of appreciation, which can be viewed on their website.

The organization I founded ten years ago, Orphans International Worldwide, has a community center at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro at OI Tanzania, serving AIDS orphans and other children. Hopefully the Kilimanjaro team will stop by and visit the children currently staying there before they embark on their ten-day journey up the highest peak in Africa.

The American Foundation for Children with AIDS looks to provide children suffering from HIV/AIDS with effective treatment and life-saving medication. The AFCA provides education, medical and social support as well as humanitarian relief. More information can be found on their site,

The American Alpine Institute is dedicated to helping climbers hone their skills and learn to protect the environment in which they climb. They are currently working on sponsoring the AFCA's Climb Up So Kids Can Grow up programs. More can be found on their website,

With Nancy Minyanou. Edited by Rebecca Nutley. We, Jim Luce, Nancy Minyanou and Rebecca Nutley, contribute the above article to the public domain.

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