I'm frankly impressed by any human being who makes the decision to climb a mountain -- any mountain. Down here on comparatively level ground, we have couches and showers and stuff, so to voluntarily hike up and away from such creature comforts is quite the undertaking, at least in my book. So to me, 15-year-old Eli Reimer's recent climb to the Base Camp of Mount Everest in Nepal is an incredible accomplishment, for several reasons: Not only is Eli a teen, but the Mount Everest Base Camp's elevation is just under 17,600 feet (yup, that's the "base"). Oh, and Eli has Down Syndrome.
And now he's the first U.S. teen with Down Syndrome to ever hike the 70 miles to the Mount Everest Base Camp. Joined by his father, Justin Riemer, and seven other supporters, Eli made the trek to help raise awareness and money for the disabled. That's also why Justin and Eli's mom Tamara started the Elisha Foundation in 2005 -- to offer support, "refreshment, and encouragement" to special needs families like their own.
Eli Reimer's latest adventure is definitely encouraging, even to those of us who don't have special needs -- not just because he actually made the climb successfully, but because of the amazing attitude he retained throughout. According to his dad, when the rest of the climbers were losing steam, Eli took over and led the way to camp.
What an inspiration! Eli inspires me not just as a parent -- our kids really are capable of anything and it's our job to never let them forget it -- but as a human being. Sitting on a couch. Not climbing anything right now.
Have you ever climbed a mountain with your teen?
Image via The Elisha Foundation