Paradise Valley great-grandmother Anne Lorimor, 85 years old, is attempting to be the oldest woman to reach the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. She leaves Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport on Saturday, June 27 for Tanzania, Africa as part of her mission to raise awareness and funds for underprivileged children. “While I am not a professional climber I’ve always enjoyed hiking. If I combine my interest in climbing with my passion for helping children, what could be better?” says Anne, who says she would rather be called by her first name than Ms. Lorimor.
She has traveled to more than 100 countries and climbed dozens of mountains including four peaks with an elevation of more than 14,000 feet. At 76, she climbed Pike’s Peak in Colorado at 14,115 feet. Mount Kilimanjaro is one mile higher than Pike’s Peak at 19,341 feet above sea level. It is the tallest peak in Africa and the tallest free standing mountain in the world (not part of a mountain range like the Himalayas, which boast Mt. Everest which is 10,000 ft. less than Mt Kilimanjaro). Anne is training in Northern Arizona and Colorado to prepare for the biggest climb of her life, a climb she says she will complete for the sake of children in need.
To understand Lorimor’s mission is to understand her past. Anne was born at the start of the Great Depression and was the oldest of ten children. She and her family were homeless at times and lived in tents. She believes her experience is what drives her to help individuals in need, especially children. “My family was poor. There were times we were hungry and cold but people were often kind. We never lost hope. I was very fortunate that a teacher even offered to pay for my high school tuition because she saw potential,” says Anne. “Since then I’ve been compelled to pass that forward.”
In 2004 Lorimor founded the Challenge Youth Fund, a fund with the Arizona Community Foundation. The mission of Lorimor’s project is to help children and youth reach their full potential and, in turn, to make a difference in the world. The fund cooperates with other organizations to offer education and mentoring opportunities to underserved children and teens with an emphasis in helping foster and orphaned children, as well as homeless youth. “Children don’t ask to be in the situation they’re in; they just are,” Anne says. “I invite people to share in my journey to raise awareness and money so kids can have options and be given the hand up they deserve.”
Anne went on to earn her Bachelors in Journalism, Bachelors of Science in Nursing, her Registered Nurse License, a Masters in Counseling, a Masters in Health Education and her Ph.D. in Mass Communications as well as a certificate in Spanish Studies. To learn more about Anne’s mission or to donate, please visit www.AnneKiliClimb.com. To follow Anne on her journey and cheer her on, please connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.