Eric Oberwise via Crowdrise
August 05, 2014
EVENT DATE: Nov 06, 2014
A few years back, a young woman named Katie had a skiing accident. She was told she would never walk again. But in early August, Katie will climb the tallest mountain on the continent of Africa.
One more time: a young woman was told she would never walk again - and now she's climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.
FROM MEREDITH MOSS' ARTICLE - "Area students defy physical limitations, will climb Mt. Kilimanjaro"
The University of Dayton’s Eric M. Oberwise and the University of Cincinnati’s Katie Taylor have both faced serious setbacks in their lives but have determined to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in August.
The two will make the climb to raise funds for May We Help, an Cincinnati-based all-volunteer organization that helps turn “an inability into a capability” by creating and building innovative devices for those who want to pursue a passion but have been thwarted by physical limitations. The one-of-a-kind assistive devices have helped disabled individuals do everything from paint a picture and ride a bicycle to turn the pages in a book. Project Director of May We Help, Chris Kubik, will also be climbing alongside to show his unwaivering support for those touched by the organization.
Taylor, who became paralyzed after a skiing accident at age 16 and was told she would never walk again, says climbing Kilimanjaro will prove to herself and the rest of the world that anyone who has suffered or struggled can do anything they set their mind to do.
“In the first few months of my recovery, I found an article about a man who had been paralyzed from the neck down,” says Taylor, who is from Oakwood and is now an architecture student at U.C. ” He made a miraculous recovery, and now he runs in Iron Man triathlons. I promised myself that someday I would do something like that. Climbing Kilimanjaro is going to be my Iron Man. If I could prove doctors wrong and learn to walk against all odds, I can climb this mountain, and if I can climb Kilimanjaro, then I can do anything.
In 2011, Oberwise faced a medical crisis which resulted in the switch to his college minor to bioengineering, the founding of the UD chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society, and involvement in UD’s ETHOS program which will take him to Africa in May to help develop renewable and sustainable technologies. Now he is the founder of Raising Kilimanjaro Climb to raise funds for May We Help.
Katie says although some people say their lives flash before their eyes when they have a near-death experience, in her case it was her future that flashed before her eyes.
“I pictured prom, graduation, my father walking me down the aisle, all things that I wanted to do standing on my own two feet,” she says. When a hospital psychologist asked her how she felt knowing she might never walk again, Katie screamed at him to get out of her room and find her someone who was going to give her hope, not squash it.
“It turns out that I was right,” she says now. “Twenty-six days after the accident, I moved a toe. A week later I moved another toe, then my ankle, and then my thigh. Two months after my accident, my physical therapist tied my feet at right angles, and I hauled myself up and “walked” between parallel bars. Eight months after the accident, I started walking without any form of assistance.”
Oberwise says the climb is certain to be one of the greatest challenges Katie will face in her lifetime.
“In every sense of the word she will be conquering — conquering any fear she may have about the trek, conquering any physical deficit that others may have thought she had, and, most importantly, conquering the negative paths life offers by doing this for an incredible cause,” he says.
“Katie, myself, and Chris Kubik — the project director of May We Help — will be pushing ourselves to the limit to not only make a statement about the people we represent but to also find the sense of clarity that come from an experience as life-altering as something like this,” he says.
For information or to pledge to May We Help, see www.maywehelp.org
To view examples of the inspirational work done by May We Help, see www.youtube.com
To read more on either organization simply go to www.maywehelp.org and www.udayton.edu/engineering/ethos/