Kate Gershuni is a 46 year old wife, mother of four and businesswoman involved in software development, recruitment and skills development.  She is also involved with a community organisation that assists couples struggling with fertility issues both financially and emotionally. Kate is passionate about this cause and feels grateful to be a part of such meaningful and inspirational work, where dreams are brought to life, both literally and figuratively.

As she found herself approaching 50, her personal quest was to get out of her current comfort zone. She made a pledge to herself to become more healthy, fit and energetic. She started running with a group of friends and found herself drawn to the challenge of climbing Kilimanjaro. She wanted to empower herself, to reach goals that seemed distant and to prove to herself that she could achieve something extraordinary. Importantly for Kate, was the balance created by being able to give back to the community by doing something for herself.  She feels motivated to assist other women to change their lives while at the same time changing her own. For Kate, there is no looking back.

Andy Kopelowitz is a 28 year old daughter, sister and wife. She grew up in Cape Town (one of the greatest cities in the world!) and loves travelling, being outside and singing. She appreciates the simple pleasures in life and is a bit of a foodie. Andy values spending time with people she loves. She is a structural engineer by training, and works as a Buildings Sustainability consultant.

Andy says that the world is a completely fascinating place. She has always loved exploration and the refreshment that comes with a new destination. Part of the reason she joined this campaign was for the adventure, that-thing-you-tell-your-grandkids appeal. Part of the reason was practical, “if not now (when it’s perfectly scheduled in her life), then when?” Part of it was for the joie de vivre to fuel her soul and her enchantment of the interesting and the diverse. She wants to be reminded of how unbelievably awe-inspiring the world is, in both its vastness and its detail. For Andy though, a really big motivation is the knowledge that this climb is not just a climb. It is a campaign to honour the everyday mountains so many women around us have to battle. It is the chance to offer a leg-up to those who have such steep climbs to conquer. It is an opportunity to put her energy behind a truly worthwhile project that will provide so many with a foundation for sustainable and dignified self-reliance. It is an opportunity to be a part of something incredible, something that makes a 5,900m (??) climb so much higher and so much bigger.

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By Tali Frankel