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Featured fundraiser: Women Kili Climbers Kili-ing Cancer

Some of the ladies of the Women Kili Climbers Kili-ing Cancer group

Taking on cancer is no easy task, but there’s a dozen strong women out there who are happily up for the challenge. Named the Women Kili Climbers Kili-ing Cancer—nicknamed W(KC)2—this group of 12 ladies are raising funds for Be The Match® by climbing the world’s tallest freestanding mountain: Mount Kilimanjaro. 

Climbing for a cause

The mind behind this fundraising feat belongs to Ayse Sumners, who developed a strong desire to summit Kilimanjaro while hiking the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu with six women. She gathered a group of professional and personal friends who all committed to not only summit Africa’s tallest mountain, but also raise funds for a worthy cause. 

They began planning for the trip last spring and will embark on the climb May 30. Each day of the venture will consist of 4-6 hours of hiking and around 3,000 feet of elevation gain—equivalent to about twice the height of the Empire State Building. At midnight on June 5 they will start their summit, illuminated by the glow of a full moon (clear skies permitting). Summit day will be long and difficult, requiring approximately 13 hours of hiking.   

“We know this climb will not be easy and we will have tough moments,” said team co-captain Robin LaRocco. “In those moments, we want to be able to focus on something bigger than ourselves to help propel us forward.”

A life-saving partnership

When the time came to decide on a cause to rally around, LaRocco presented Be The Match to the group. As Administrative Director for Bone Marrow Transplant (BMT) at Winship Cancer Institute, LaRocco has already been partnering with the organization for 20 years. She has seen the life-changing impact of the mission through the partnership’s 7,500+ transplant recipients.

“We’re hoping our fundraising efforts will support patients and families by helping them find a cure and overcome the financial barriers of uninsured costs associated with transplant,” said LaRocco.

The women’s fundraising goal of $100,000 is ambitious—just like their climb. But through their dedicated efforts they have already made major strides toward making this a reality.

While they are still securing corporate sponsorships, Sumners said she has been very impressed with Be The Match’s assistance for the fundraiser: “Be The Match’s support to get our fundraiser started was over and above our expectations, which made it effortless to get it launched.”

The group is also helping helping the dedicated porters who trek tirelessly with climbers, carrying their gear as they ascend Mount Kilimanjaro. Porters often lack proper warm weather gear to stay safe in severe weather conditions, so the women are assisting in the delivery of 140 ski jackets to these porters, collected by the organization Insulation for Elevation.

Want to help these 12 women crush cancer and their fundraising goal? You can make a gift of any size today for team W(KC)2. Or choose your own adventure by creating a fundraiser of your own to give hope to more patients.

Money raised helps add new potential blood stem cell donors to the Be The Match Registry®, cover out-of-pocket transplant costs for patients, and fund innovative research that helps more patients access and thrive from a stem cell transplant.