LONDON, Ont. - Carol Walters, CEO of the Alzheimer's Society London and Middlesex (ASLM), and Wendy Thompson, ASLM Board Member have decided to conquer one of the Natural Wonders of the World, Mount Kilimanjaro.

The two women have both been personally impacted by the devastating disease. Wanting to do something to acknowledge their mothers who were both diagnosed with dementia, they decided to do something big.

“We’ve talked about wanting to do something adventurous and challenge ourselves. We are always looking to do something new, so we thought, what about climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. And as we started talking about it, and training, it became quite obvious that we had to do this for our moms,” says Thompson.

The women agree that climbing to what some call the Roof of Africa, would be a good opportunity to acknowledge the struggles and the journey that people living with the disease go through every day, and to help overcome this disease by raising money for ASLM.

“We know that our mountain journey does not come close to comparing to a dementia journey, but we wanted to do something big and challenging. Something that was really going to push us mentally and physically, and this is where the idea came from,” Walters says.

They will be flying out of Toronto Thursday morning, arriving in Tanzania Friday and departing on their eight-day journey to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro Saturday. It will take them six days to summit, that is 19,341 feet above sea level, and two days to come back down.

To be able to conquer this climb, they have been training since May, hiking the Boler Mountain trails about two to three times a week.

Walters and Thompson, along with their husbands (who will be joining them on this journey), set a goal of raising $10,000, one dollar for every two feet of the ascent.

All donations will be directed to local programs and services offered by the ASLM, supporting the various journeys that people living with dementia and their care partners are on.

There are over half-a-million Canadians living with dementia, and approximately 8,500 in London and Middlesex County.

They are still accepting donations as they prepare to depart.