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Visually Impaired Vancouver Man to Challenge Kilimanjaro for Individuals with Down Syndrome

Bill Der, who is legally blind due to glaucoma, will summit Mount Kilimanjaro in support of individuals with Down syndrome.

Bill Der, who is legally blind due to glaucoma, is out to prove that disabilities are no obstacle to doing good, as he prepares to summit Mount Kilimanjaro this fall in support of two local charities.

Over the past five years, Bill has climbed the Grouse Grind Trail every weekend. On one such occasion, he came across a fellow Grinder who was carrying a thirty-pound backpack. She was in training to climb seven mountains in Asia, and she suggested that Bill try climbing Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa.

The idea stuck. Bill decided to undertake a significant event to mark a change in his life’s direction, as well as pay tribute to his wife of 35 years, Lana, who recently passed away.

Bill and his son Spencer, who will serve as Bill’s guide, will be symbolically accompanied on their journey by Lana, as her name will be carved into a special staff that they will carry with them. When they descend from the mountain, they will enter into a different future in which they intend to drive life, as opposed to being driven by life. It is merely the first step in their new mission to spend their energy and resources on helping others to reach their own summit of life, just as others have helped Bill to overcome his own challenges with deteriorating vision.

Bill has worked for The Answer Company for more than 15 years, and the company has been tremendously supportive through his battle with glaucoma and the loss of his wife. One of the major charities The Answer Company supports is the Down Syndrome Research Foundation. In gratitude, Bill will be supporting DSRF as he completes his inspiring journey. He will also be simultaneously raising funds for the Alzheimers Society of BC, and has set a goal of raising $15,000 for each charity.

Bill and Spencer Der will be blogging their Summit Challenge at http://mysummitchallenge.blogspot.ca/. Donations can be made to the Down Syndrome Research Foundation at https://fundraise.dsrf.org/BillDer, and to the Alzheimers Society of BC at http://anythingforalzheimers.ca/mount-kilimanjaro-summit-challenge/. On Twitter, Bill and Spencer will be using the hashtag #BlindvsKilimanjaro.

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