To accomplish our mission we need your support!

To accomplish our mission we need your support!

Continue to help

Our trek is complete, we reached the summit,
we awarded scholarships for the 2008-2009 ski season!
Ultimately, we’d love to have people
carry on supporting us
and our efforts so that we can continue to help female disabled athletes in the future.
We are currently accepting applicants for this season, which is a Paralympic season.


We just finished our African adventure 2 days ago. There was laughter, tears, dirt and sweat but the 5 of us got up and down Mt. Kilimanjaro successfully. One making it to Gilman’s Point and the rest reaching Uhuru Peak!
The trek was a long but fun 6 days. There is so much to tell…
…in short we went through the gamut of emotions and external issues including heath concerns, medical issues, weather, lack of sleep, lack of food consumption and lots of hours of hiking, but we did it! Day 5 (but it really all started on Day 4) was our summit day and it was very difficult in every way. Adrenaline can only take you so far but we pushed through. From the time I left our base camp at the Kibo Hut, went to the summit and returned back to base camp I had hiked for 15 hours! The worst part was that was not the end of the day, we had to hike 4 more hours to reach our next camp. Looking back I don’t know how I made it through some of the toughest moments along the way, but some how we managed it together. We are a strong group of women, disabled or not, and we really showed our strengths out on the mountain!
Below is a shot of us celebrating together when we finally reached the hotel on Day 6.

Thanks for Everything- from Liz

Dear Friends

When I woke up on the first morning after our first night’s camping I got my first proper glimpse of Mount Kilimanjaro and then that’s when it hit me ‘what on earth am I doing?’!

It had been a dream of mine to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for about 10 years. A friend at college went to climb it with her mother and I thought ‘I could do that’. But now I was standing at the base of the mountain, I really was thinking ‘you stupid girl!’

But the fears soon went as I enjoyed the climb.

We took a route called Rongai which starts at the north east side of the mountain. It is the second easiest route on the mountain, which is one of the reasons why we chose it, but also because it is a far quieter track.

We started the hike on Tuesday 11th September. It really was a relief to finally start the hike. I had had the journey from hell trying to get to Tanzania. It all started a couple of weeks before when I was told that I could not leave the USA as I had a green card (work visa) application in process. Together with my lawyer I tried every avenue to work out how I could leave the country to go to Africa but everything was stacked against us.

However, just 12 hours before I was meant to leave I received a phone call from my lawyer explaining that the whole of my green card application had been lost and therefore I could leave. It was a mad dash to get everything ready but I finally boarded the flight the next morning, set for the UK.

I arrived in the UK on the morning of Sunday 9th, Dad picked me up and frantically drove back to Brockenhurst, I packed more of my things and then we frantically drove back to Heathrow. At 8pm that evening I boarded a flight for Amsterdam.

This was it, or at least I thought. I am finally going to Africa to fulfil my dream of climbing Mt Kilimanjaro. But, oh no, I should have realised by now that it was not going to be that easy! I landed in Amsterdam and went to get a hotel only to find out that all my bank cards would not work in any of the ATM’s in Amsterdam! Great! This led me to my first experience of sleeping on top of my bags in a foreign airport. Oh the joy!

After numerous attempts to use my card the following morning at the bureau de change, my card was finally accepted and I managed to get some money to pursue my journey. I eventually got on the flight to Kilimanjaro and slept the whole of the 8 hour flight! Bear in mind, until the flight I had had only 8 hours sleep in 60 hours – I was exhausted.

Again, I made the fatal mistake of thinking that I was finally on my way! Surely nothing else could go wrong?! I landed at the Kilimanjaro International Airport that evening at about 9pm and waited for the tour company to pick me up. But no that would have been easy! Because of all my problems with the green card I was actually on a different flight to my co hikers; they had arrived the night before. I had told the tour company that I would be on the following days flight and my friends had told me that they would ensure that there would be somebody to pick me up. However, there would have appeared to be some bad communication somewhere along the line.

... read more of her story at

If you would like to see photos of the trip they are on the internet at:
and to read about the other girls experience you can read them on the blog at:

Thank you once again everyone, I have been amazed at the amount of support I have received from family and friends from all over the world.

Best wishes

We did it! Thoughts from Katja

When Hannah called me and asked if I’d be interested to summit Mount Kilimanjaro. I didn’t hesitate for one second to agree, I knew that it would be an amazing adventure but I couldn’t have ever imagined how great the experience was going to be.

Hiking in such a high altitude was the hardest but also the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done in my life. In the beginning I was walking way too fast and I was feeling horrible. It was amazing when I slowed my pace started to learn to listen my body and I found my rhythm. I think that my biggest fight was with my own thoughts. Hour after hour I just had to control my breathing and take one step at the time. The most important thing was that I pushed all the thoughts of pain and tiredness away and tried not to worry about anything.

I’ve always thought that if you want something hard enough you can have that. Still I was surprised how much more power you can find inside of you when you want to reach your goal. That was the feeling I wanted to bring down from the mountain. But I would have never gotten on the top of Kilimanjaro without the other ladies and our great guides and porters. I’m so happy and proud to be able to share this experience with you.

Mzuka madada!


Liz Miller

Liz started skiing on vacation trips with her family. With a family very keen on skiing, it was inevitable that Liz would make a career out of the sport. However, in 1997 she had a skiing accident which resulted in her loosing her left leg below the knee. This did not stop her. She started ski racing whilst at university in the UK. It was there that she fell in love with the thrill of competition.

After studying, and working a ski season in France she decided that she would give ski racing her best endeavour. It was then that Liz discovered the NSCD. Liz never had a problem with her disability, but it was the NSCD that really helped her accept her amputation and she has a lot to thank the organisation for providing this outstanding program and the support that it provides.

Liz enjoys numerous other sports. A keen tennis player and runner, she also takes pleasure in cycling, hiking, horse riding, to name but a few. She has a passion for extreme adrenalin activities, including sky diving and bungy jumping! Liz is currently living in Winter Park, Colorado and hopes to settle here in the near future.

Sandy Dukat

Sandy was born without a right femur and her right foot was amputated at the age of 4. Still, she played, basketball, baseball, and high-jumped in high school. Also, Dukat was a member of the U.S. Disabled Swimming Team. After the '98 World Swimming Championships, she learned about disabled skiing and moved to Winter Park, CO for its outstanding program. Dukat lived in Winter Park and trained with the NSCD competitive program for 4 years. After her 3rd year with NSCD, Dukat made the U.S Disabled Ski Team.
Now a 7-year veteran on the U.S Disabled Ski Team, Dukat has attended the 2002 Salt Lake City and 2006 Torino Paralympic Games. Dukat won 2 bronze medals in 2002 and 1 bronze medal in 2006. Dukat credits her early ski success to the strong NSCD program.
Besides skiing, Dukat has competed in Olympic-distance triathlons, cycling competitions as well as running races. One of Dukat's highlights in her athletic career was running the Chicago half-marathon in 2:02! Now Dukat finds time to rock climb and even telemark ski. Dukat plans to train this summer for Kilimanjaro by tackling the many fourteeners that are right here in Colorado.

Hannah Pennington

Hannah was born with Cerebral Palsy, which affects the balance, flexibility, and strength in her lower abdomen and legs. Despite her disability and with the encouragement of her parents, sisters, therapists and doctors, she has always been active in athletics. Starting at age 6 and continuing throughout high school, she skied with the Children's Hospital Handicapped Sports Program through the National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD).

After graduation from High School, Pennington began racing at Fort Lewis College, an able-bodied team. She enjoyed it so much that in 1997, she moved back to Denver and began training full time in Winter Park with the NSCD competition program. In the spring of 2001, she qualified for the U.S. Disabled Ski Team and then for the 2002 Paralympic team. After the 2002 Salt Lake Paralympics she went on to compete in her second Paralympics in 2006. She says: "It is because of all the love and encouragement I receive that I am able to be a successful athlete. I’m especially thankful for support from my family, my friends, the NSCD and my sponsors like Scientific Atlanta, Rudy Project and Wells Fargo Bank, and CAF.”

Outside of skiing Pennington has competed in road cycling races, time trials and BMX bike races. When not cycling or skiing she can be found playing tennis, or on a hike around her home in Winter Park. She’s excited to train for Kilimanjaro because it will give her a reason to hike some of the Colorado fourteeners. You can check out Hannah's personal blog at

Katja Saarinen

Katja started skiing with her family when she was 5 years old. After only two winters of skiing, Katja was diagnosed with bone cancer. To prevent it from spreading any further, her right leg was amputated above the knee right leg was amputated above the knee. After recovering from her illness and surgeries Katja went back to the slopes and learned how to ski on one leg as a “three tracker.”

Skiing was only a fun hobby for Katja until in 1998 she saw a program from The Nagano Paralympic Winter Games. This was an eye-opening experience for her and she was determined to become a Paralympian in Alpine Skiing one day. Right after her final exams in high school Katja travelled to the Finnish National Championships to meet people and to find out how she could start training. A short time later, Katja was named to the Finnish Disabled Ski Team.

In 2002 she reached her goal of becoming a Paralympian! She has competed in the Paralympic Games in Salt Lake City in 2002 and in Torino in 2006. One of her biggest achievements in skiing was winning the bronze medal in slalom in the 2004 World Championships. It was that success that led her to Colorado to train and race with the National Sport Center for the Disabled (NSCD). Katja says, “I took a big step forward in my skiing and motivation before Torino while I was training with the NSCD program in Winter Park, Colorado.” Katja thinks the best thing in life is experiencing something new and challenging yourself to break your own boundaries.

Kati Rooney

Kati has always been active in sports which included swimming, running, cycling. In October of 1997, while swimming in Lake Michigan, she was hit by an out of control boat which caused the amputation of her left leg below the knee. Following her accident, she was introduced to disabled sports and competed for the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago’s swim team- The RIC Wave. She spent the next five years competing in many meets as well as Nationals in 1999, 2000 and 2001. One year after her amputation she started running and subsequently competed in a number of able-bodied races. She began cycling more seriously and fell in love with kayaking and cross-country skiing. She learned how to downhill ski for the first time in 1999.

Currently Kati is not training for any races. As she says, “I am just training for life” She uses a bicycle as her primary form of transportation all year round. She continues to swim in Lake Michigan every day for almost five months of the year as well as pool swimming in the winter months. She stays active with running and yoga. “Nothing makes me happier than getting out and enjoying a beautiful day- swimming in the big lake, running on my beautiful carbon fiber leg, jumping on my favorite bike, or skiing in the woods! Staying active and being strong is what makes me sure that I will always be able to face the challenges of being an amputee”.

Live Life without Limitations!

Getting Close

We're counting down the days and making our final plans. We leave the 8th of September and we'll start our trek on the 11th! I can’t believe there is so little time left before we leave. Thanks so much to all that have helped us thus far. We're crossing our fingers that we will continue to receive support both emotionally and financially during and after the trek.

Liz, Sandy and I recently did a hike over in Summit County together which made us even more excited than we already were. Here is a photo from that day.

Kilimanjaro here we come!

Additional reasons

We have embarked on an additional project for our trip to Tanzania. We are teaming up with the Finnish program LiiKe. Liikunnan kehitysyhteistoyo- Sports Development Aid: LiiKe (Liikunnan kehitysyhteistyö - Sports Development Aid) is a Finnish NGO working for sports development in developing countries. Its aim is to promote social and economic welfare by using sports as a tool to achieve the United Nations Millennium Development Goals. LiiKe operates closely with the Finnish Sports Federation, Finnish sports associations and other Finnish and international NGO's.LiiKe has two projects in Tanzania: the first targets girls and women, aiming to improve gender equity and school enrolment through sports; the second targets primary schools in the Mtwara Region, aiming to make their sports environments more attractive in order to decrease school dropouts and improve educational facilities.

International Platform on Sport and Development
Butimba’s Teachers College: Sport and Physical Education (PE) have a minor role in the Tanzanian education syllabus today. The present number of sport teachers is rather low in the primary schools and the quality of the lessons provided is rather poor. A new curriculum has been worked out by the Ministry of Education to include Sport and Ethics as a subject of its own. The implementation of the new curriculum is now a big challenge for the Butimba Teachers’ College (TC) as it’s the only college to study PE.

Our plan is to visit the village called Butimba near Mwanza and visit the school for children with disabilities and attend a seminar for the teachers. It is the only school for the becoming teachers where they can study physical education. We would attend the seminar where we could speak about sport for people with physical disabilities.

Getting Going

Wow this has been a bigger project than I imagined.
I guess we're more athletically inclined then technically.
Please help us get to the top of Kilimanjaro!