They have suffered life-threatening injuries, undergone countless surgeries and endured painful physical rehabilitation. Now eight fire victims, including 11- and 12-year-old girls, come together to face another challenge: climbing Africa’s highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro.
They are part of a Courage Rising campaign sponsored by the Valleywise Health Foundation to show that burn victims can achieve anything and to support the new Arizona Burn Center at Valleywise Health in Phoenix, Arizona. They will climb Kilimanjaro from June 13-26 along with medical professionals from the Burn Center and supporters.
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Individual climbers “pay it up front” by raising money for Arizona Burn Center – Valleywise Health.
• 11-year-old Isla Cook – a gymnast who suffered burns over 46 percent of her body in a propane cylinder accident. She will be hiking with her mother, Aly.
• Isabella McCune, 12, from Phoenix – her inspirational story caught the eye of pop star Taylor Swift.
• Phoenix Fire Captain and high school swim coach Susie Fawcett – burned to death fighting a building fire in 1998.
• Peoria teacher Christin Lipinski – survived flesh-eating bacteria.
• Renowned “mom blogger” Stephanie Nielson and her husband Christian – her remarkable recovery from a horrific plane crash in 2008 resulted in a New York Times bestseller and national television appearances.
• Jason Nelson – badly burned in 2014 after his home in Gilbert was blown up by a gas leak.
• Hailey Boyce, who suffered severe burns in a vape accident at the age of 17.
“Christian and I had to climb some pretty steep mountains at the burn center with some pretty amazing doctors, nurses and staff at our side keeping us alive and cheering us on,” said Stephanie Nielson. “Climbing Kilimanjaro with the same people and other burn victims will close the circle of our recovery. This time we’re going to climb a mountain that we can climb and we’ll be cheering each other on. We are very much looking forward to conquering this mountain and proving to the world that our scars cannot hold back the effort.”
Learn more: Courage-Rising.org