At 25 Kyle Maynard has accomplished quite a bit, he owns his own cross fit gym, has been a mixed martial arts fighter, has been a wrestler, an author, and is a motivational speaker; oh yeah, Kyle was born without any hands or feet. A congenital birth defect caused Kyle to be born with arms only as far as the elbow and legs only to the knees. But Kyle has not let this fact stop or slow him down.
And Kyle’s next big project?
He plans on making the climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro in January along with a group of civilians and veterans some of whom have various disabilities. Maynard will make the 20,000 foot climb – the highest peak in Africa - without the help of any aid devices; he will only have pieces of bicycle tire taped to his limbs with heavy duty tape.
Maynard said it is something he has wanted to do for year. His reason for making the climb? To send a message to people with disabilities, “To show that there are challenges in life, but it doesn’t mean that you have to give up. You decide how you’re going to draw meaning from the challenges in you life.”
Maynard wrote on his website, “I am climbing for the people who may not realize how much potential they hive in their lives. I am climbing to pay tribute to my heroes – the men and women of the United States Armed Forces who have sacrificed so much to preserve my freedom.” Maynard’s father served in the Army; something Maynard himself aspired to do, but was not able to achieve.
Before making the 16 day climb “Mission Kilimanjaro 2012” will visit the Mwereni Integrated School for the Blind in Moshi, Tansania to drop off some medical supplies worth $25,000 to the school and to spend some time with the children.
Maynard is not the first person with a disability to ascend the mountain, decorated paralympian Chris Waddell made the climb with a handcycle in 2009; but Maynard will be the first quadruple amputee to make the ascension unassisted.
Joining Maynard on the climb are veterans Sandra Ambotaite, Chris Hadsall and Ryan Everett; also on the climb are Kevin Cherilla who has made the climb eleven times, former college linebacker Dan Adams, award winning writer/director and climb cinematographer Takashi Doscher, long time friend of Maynard Joey Leonardo, former college linebacker Blake Shubert, and Geneva Templeton.
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