Spencer West is a public speaker with Me to We, a division of Free The Children and is from Toronto.
I had the great pleasure of interviewing Spencer for my Journey To Success BlogTalkRadio show. The link for the show is below.
Spencer's legs were amputated below the pelvis when he was 5 years old because of a genetic disorder. He has climbed Mount Kiliminjaro in Tanzania and endured a grueling 11 day walk/trek from Edmonton, Alberta to Calgary, Alberta.
The National Post wrote a great article on his adventure. Read it here. Below are excerpts from the article.
Public speaker with Free the Children, he began his journey on June 12 with two friends and a team of guides and porters. The 31-year-old, spent over a year with a personal trainer in preparation for the climb, which has raised over $500,000 to create clean water programs in Kenya — still shy of the $750,000 goal. TheNational Post’s Jake Edmiston spoke with Mr. West on the phone from Moshi, Tanzania, at the base of Kilimanjaro.
Q: You had to walk on your hands for most of the climb, is that something you do a lot in Toronto?
West: No, and that was one of the main challenges. I typically get around in Cabbagetown, where I live, in my chair. But I have a car as well. We came into this thinking it would be 50% in my chair and 50% on my hands. In actuality, it ended up being 80% on my hands. But it wasn’t anything that was debilitating in any way.
Q: Was there a part where you didn’t think it was going to happen?
West: Up until the summit day, my buddies were cheering me on. But when we got to that point to climb the summit, my two best friends were hit by massive altitude sickness. They were literally throwing up on the side of the mountain, I thought “Maybe this is it.” To be very candid with you, this is one of the first times I was like “I wish I had legs today.” Because I would have picked those guys up and carried them one by one to the summit. But I couldn’t do that, so instead I got on my hands and said “Guys, let’s walk this together.” I was going to go as far as they could go. If they stopped halfway and couldn’t make it, then that’s what we would have done.
For more information about Spencer West and Free The Children, visit their website here.
Spencer West is many things. Accomplished speaker. University graduate. Natural prankster. Former cheerleader. And a young man without legs—something that has never held him back. Spencer was born without the use of his legs. When he was five, doctors decided to amputate below his pelvis to better help him get around. It didn’t bother him; he was Superman and nothing would ever get in his way. Or so he thought. Navigating through life on his hands, Spencer has always lived with purpose. But he wanted more out of life than just a paycheque and material possessions. He wanted to make an impact but wasn’t always sure how. That was until he had the epiphany: He was different for a reason. Infused with humour and humility, Spencer West has never lost the hope or courage he needed to tackle personal obstacles—bullying, isolation, failure, or pride. His secret? Always standing tall.
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