Kili Conquerors

Reta Currie, an Ottawa nurse and wellness expert met with Parkinson Society Ottawa, just over a year ago, to discuss her dream of building a team to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro while raising awareness and funds for Parkinson Societies across Canada. Reta was determined to make a difference and she wanted to do this on behalf of her friends with Parkinson’s.

Kili summit - Members of the Kili Conquerors team, Jocelyn Green, Erica Curtis and Sandy Bookalam with the Parkinson Society Canada flag atop Mt. Kilimanjaro

She recruited other members for her team: Her partner, Sandy Bookalam, a medical laboratory technologist at the Ottawa Hospital. (February 2011 would mark their 20th anniversary.) Erica Curtis from Barrie, ON, Reta’s long-time friend from nursing school, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s three years ago. Jocelyn Green, from Victoria, BC, whose brother-in-law, Bill, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s six years ago. And Joyce Lindsay, from Barrie, ON, who came forward in the closing days of preparations to join the four on their adventure.

Their journey was not only a fundraising endeavour, it was an inspiration to many, both within and outside the Parkinson community. During their trek, the Kili Conquerors encountered a fellow climber who was so touched by their story that, on returning home, he submitted a $1000 donation with the message, “It was a great pleasure to have met all of you on the climb. It made the experience that much more memorable to see friends uniting around such a worthy cause. Erica was truly inspirational.”

Climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

“The most important part was the journey itself, not the summit. The people experiences are the memories I will cherish – journeying with my fabulous friends and the wonderful guides and porters. The people at home made me feel they were truly with me on some of the hardest slogs. I will always be grateful to them for so wholeheartedly supporting the Parkinson Society. I also learned a few things about my Parkinson symptoms that I did not want to have so clearly demonstrated. My balance wasn’t great on the uneven ground and by the end of each day I was exhausted but apparently my determination was up to the challenge and I got lots of help from the guides.” – Erica Curtis

Joyce Lindsay, Erica Curtis, Sandy Bookalam, Reta Currie, Jocelyn Green

The Kili Conquerors conquered in many ways. They not only reached the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa, on February 14, 2011, but together they have accomplished another tremendous goal of raising over $38,000 for Parkinson Societies across Canada! From all of us, congratulations and thank you to each of you for your hard work and dedication. Thanks for letting us be a part of this amazing journey.

If you or your loved ones are planning an event or personal challenge and want to discuss raising awareness and funds for Parkinson’s, please contact your local Parkinson Society.