Jeff Campbell is hoping to scale Mount Kilimanjaro in order to help victims and families of Alzheimer’s disease overcome the mountain-sized obstacles they face.
The hearing specialist at the Terminal Park Connect Hearing has seen a number of his clients afflicted by the disease and will be taking part in the Ascent for Alzheimer’s fundraiser for the Alzheimer’s Society of B.C., between Sept. 23-29 in Tanzania.
Proceeds will go toward research, education and support for the 70,000-plus people in the province who suffer from Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Seeing once-sharp customers deteriorate mentally isn’t an easy experience, according to Campbell. He builds relationships with them and people he once had meaningful conversations with eventually don’t remember who he is.
“That’s the impact that it has on me. It’s like a friendship that … not necessarily falls apart, but you just see the deterioration and it’s quite sad because you can’t do anything to stop it,” said Campbell.
While the adventure Campbell and seven other climbers will embark on isn’t as arduous as summiting Mount Everest – Campbell will wear ordinary hiking boots – it is a “rocky hike with a little bit of scrambling.” He likens it to climbing Mount Benson five times.
Hikers will have to deal with altitude sickness, as Kilimanjaro has an elevation of close to 6,000 metres.
“You can get very, very nauseated, there can be certain things with clotting of blood, from lack of oxygen, things like that, so our team is run by a very, very keen guide that has done it many times and she knows how to mitigate all the risks, so we’ve done training hikes. I’ve been training for a year for this climb,” said Campbell.
He is about halfway to his target of $10,000 and said a fundraising garage sale will take place sometime in August.
For more on the Ascent for Alzheimer’s, please go to www.ascentbc.ca.