The man you see above is Spencer West, a courageous man who was born in Toronto, Canada, 31 years ago. He lost his legs when he was five due to sacral agenesis, a genetic disorder that left his lower spine poorly developed and his legs permanently crossed. Doctors amputated his legs right below his pelvis, and told his parents that he would never be able to sit up. Never say never, as 26 years later, Spencer completed the impossible: he scaled Mt. Kilimanjaro over a seven-day period. Continue reading for a video, more pictures, and additional information.
Medical experts told the courageous Canadian he would never be a functioning member of society but he has continued to defy doctors his entire life. He trained for a year to scale the tallest peak in Africa without legs and set off on June 12 with best friends David Johnson and Alex Meers.
The trek to the top took seven days, hiking through Tanzania’s jungles, snowfields and deserts – and Mr West was forced to make 80 per cent of the journey on his hands, only hopping in a custom-made wheelchair when the terrain allowed.The trio made it to the final approach on Sunday and rose the following morning for the ascent to Uhuru Peak.They reached the top at 11.15am after a exhausting seven hour hike.
Only 50 per cent of people who attempt to scale the mountain make it to the top – and Mr West described the moment he reached the summit as ‘incredible’. He said: ‘The summit sign seemed almost like a mirage. ‘We looked around and realised that, after seven grueling days of relentless climbing, after 20,000 feet of our blood, sweat, tears and vomit we had actually made it. ‘The bleeding fingers and blisters were all worth it.’
‘Reaching the peak of Mt. Kilimanjaro was the most mentally and physically challenging thing I have ever done, but in doing so, it reinforced the powerful message behind believing in yourself, and believing in others. ‘So many people made this journey possible for me and I am so humbled by everyone’s support.’ His incredible feat has raised more than £300,000 for Free The Children, a charity which brings sustainable to thousands of Kenyans experiencing drought.