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She did it! SA student sets world record as she summits Mount Kili in a wheelchair

Cape Town student Chaeli Mycroft has just reached the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in her wheelchair and has set the world record as first female quadriplegic to have made it to the highest peak in Africa.

Cerebral palsy confined Michaela “Chaeli” Mycroft to a wheelchair but it also enabled her to become the world’s first “ability activist”, challenging the world’s understanding of what it is to create an inclusive society.

This 20-year-old has more ability than most.

At age nine, she teamed up with her sister and three friends to raise R20 000 for her motorised wheelchair.

The success of this small project awakened Mycroft to the bigger picture — promoting the ability of others like herself.

Since 2004, the Chaeli Campaign has assisted over 3 000 children to receive wheelchairs, hearing aids, food supplements and more, and translated their slogan “Hope in Motion” into a programme in Zimbabwe.

Having won the 2011 International Children’s Peace Prize and 2012 Nobel Peace Laureates’ Medal for Activism, Mycroft will be using these international platforms to spread her message:

“Always believe in yourself and know that you have gifts the world needs.”

News of Chaeli’s successful summit was recorded in a phone call between Jarred at Discover Africa and Ben at Summits Africa.

According to Ben, Chaeli reached the summit along with six other hikers at 11:02 on Thursday, 3 September.

The phone call conversation played as follows:

Jarred: Hi Ben do you have any news?

Ben: Definitely confirmed. Everyone to the summit including Chaeli. That’s seven to the summit. Johanna and Anne down.

Chaeli and her team kicked off their epic adventure on Friday, 27 August.

En route to the top, on 30 August, Chaeli celebrated her 21st birthday! From their camp on Mount Kilimanjaro she described her birthday saying, “I couldn’t have asked for a better place to celebrate it. What a backdrop! I’d love to show you some pics, but our signal is very limited here.”

“Just because someone has a disability, doesn’t mean there should be a limit to what they can achieve,” she says.

The Chaeli Campaign is made up of a team of climbers who aim to positively change the mind-set and mobility of children with disabilities. Chaeli has cerebral palsy and says she created the Chaeli Conquerors to show the importance of working together to achieve seemingly impossible goals.

She describes herself as an ability activist, wheelchair user, student and co-founder of The Chaeli Campaign – which was centred around her journey to becoming the first female quadriplegic to summit Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest free-standing mountain in the world in no less than seven days.

Chaeli hopes that the Mount Kilimanjaro climb will help raise funds to support the Inclusive Early Childhood Development Centre run by the Chaeli Campaign.

For more information about the climb, click here.

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The Good Things Guy
Brent Lindeque is the founder and man in charge at Good Things Guy. Recognised as one of the Mail and Guardian’s Top 200 Young South African’s as well as a Primedia LeadSA Hero, Brent is a change maker, thought leader, radio host, foodie, vlogger, writer and all round good guy.

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