Bayfield climber reaches Mt. Everest summit
Schneider is first person with MS to summit Mt. Everest
Ashland Daily Press
Published: Tuesday, May 26, 2009
 

Lori Schneider of Bayfield summited Mt. Everest Friday night, becoming the first person with multiple sclerosis to accomplish the feat. The 52-year-old mountain climber and speaker is also the first person with MS to complete the Seven Summits, reaching the top of the highest peak on each continent.

At the summit, Schneider unfurled a banner celebrating the upcoming World MS Day on May 27, and a flag signed by friends and supporters. In a satellite phone call from the summit, she said was very excited, very happy and feeling good.

Her team descended to their camp at 26,000 feet to rest before going down to a lower camp. This was Schneider's first attempt at Everest. Very few climbers make it to the summit on their first attempt.

"Lori Schneider's summit of Mt. Everest gives hope to people with MS," said Mary Hartwig, director of marketing and communications for the National MS Society Wisconsin Chapter.
 


Lori Schneider of Bayfield, 52, (here seen on an earlier climb) has become the first person with MS to reach the peak of Mt. Everest and reached the top of all Seven Summits. Photo courtesy Lori Schneider

"While not all people with MS are physically able to climb mountains, Lori's achievement demonstrates that with a can-do attitude we can all live our lives as fully as possible. It's an inspiration."

Schneider was diagnosed with MS in 1999 after the left half of her body became numb. The numbness progressed and she was told that she would be in a wheelchair very soon. With treatment, her symptoms abated and she was able to continue climbing mountains.

Schneider says she is pleased that her summit came close to the time of the first World MS Day and that she could carry the banner. World MS Day has been organized by the London-based Multiple Sclerosis International Federation and by MS Societies in 54 countries around the world. Its goal is to be a day of unity, strength and solidarity for people affected by MS across the world.

Schneider climbed Kilimanjaro in 1993, starting her Seven Summits quest. Over the next six years, she climbed mountains in Africa, Asia, South America, Colorado, France and Switzerland. Within months of her MS diagnosis, she summited Aconcagua, the highest peak in South America on the millennium New Year's Eve.

The remaining Seven Summits climbs followed with Mt. Elbrus in 2002, Denali in 2006, Mt. Kosciuszko and Vinson Massif in 2008, and now, finally, Everest.

After her Everest expedition, Schneider plans to continue her work as a motivational speaker, raising awareness of MS and helping people move beyond the fear and feelings of being limited. Through her company, Empowerment through Adventure, she plans to offer adventure and climbing experiences for people with MS.

For more information or to follow her climb, go to www.empowermentthroughadventure.com.