When Spencer West was born he was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called sacral agenesis that prevented the muscles in his legs from developing and working properly. At the age of five he had his legs amputated and doctors told him he'd never walk again.
Not only did West prove the doctors wrong by learning to use his hands to get around, but he also joined the cheerleading team in high school and is currently on his third day of a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro – the highest mountain in Africa at almost 20,000 feet.
The climb is part of West’s “Redefine Possible” campaign in partnership with the youth-focused charity Free The Children. The campaign aims to inspire others and raise $750,000 for clean water projects in Kenya by connecting individuals from across the globe through social media and technology.
West was a featured keynote speaker at the Blackberry World Conference in Orlando, FL, this past May and thanks to sponsorship from RIM, West will have a BlackBerry PlayBook and Bold 9900 for his journey up Kilimanjaro to help him document the experience and connect with followers through daily blog posts, tweets and Facebook posts.
During a volunteer trip to Kenya in 2008, West saw the effects of one of the worst droughts that East Africa has endured in over 60 years. It was this experience that helped him realize he wanted to devote his life purpose to sharing his story with others in hopes of inspiring them to change the world.
“Through [RIM’s] technology you’ve helped me not only find my purpose, but continue to do my purpose from anywhere in the world whether that’s across the sea in Kenya or climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and sending updates,” West said in an interview with RIM after the Blackberry World Conference.
You can follow Spencer’s journey up the mountain through his blog at www.freethechildren.com/redefinepossible
, which has a dedicated team set up at the base of Kilimanjaro to transmit daily videos, pictures, tweets and posts.
Stay tuned as we’ll be talking with Spencer West after he reaches the summit for a look into how today’s technology is enabling him to stay connected and inspire both young and old across the globe.