Len Stanmore mixes adventure with helping others
He's about to set a world record by climbing the highest peaks on seven continents and crossing the four most inhospitable deserts. But when he added a charitable aspect to his quest he made it even more meaningful.
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Gregory M. Lamb is a senior editor and writer.
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"I'm always skeptical of charities," he says. "You never know where your money is going. But I was really impressed with this organization, the dedication of the volunteers. I could actually see where my donation went. It really touched me."
At first Stanmore, who lives in Toronto, continued to make personal donations to TFK. But after a while he began asking friends and family to donate too, tied to him completing new challenges.
Though his "seven summits and four deserts" challenge will be completed shortly, Stanmore has some new goals in mind. He leaves in February to reclimb Kilimanjaro, this time accompanied by his wife. And in April he will run in the Boston Marathon for the first time.
His advice to others thinking about setting a big life goal? "Just get out there and try it," he says. "I think the worst feeling would be to have a goal or a dream and you never attempt it. Even if you attempt it and you fail, you have to try, right? The feeling you get after accomplishing a goal is going to last you for a lifetime."
The lessons he's learned aren't all about personal accomplishment. They're about the importance of helping others, too. When he was racing in the Gobi Desert, he was passed by a young woman runner from Japan.
"When she was running by me she pulled out a water bottle and just squirted me in the face with it, and laughed and went on," he recalls. "It was such a small thing. But I was just at the point of quitting and I thought, 'what a nice thing for someone to do.' And I kept running."
• Donations in honor of Stanmore’s incredible feats of mountain climbing, desert foot-racing, and skiing the poles can be made by going to www.trekkingforkids.org.
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