Article reprinted from The Ashland Daily Press
Schneider to lead group tackling Kilimanjaro
By MIKE SIMONSON
Wisconsin Public Radio
Published: Sunday, April 3, 2011
 
The Bayfield woman who became the first person with multiple sclerosis to summit Mount Everest two years ago is going to tackle Mount Kilimanjaro this summer… with a group of people who also have MS and Parkinson’s disease.

Ever since she reached the seventh of the world’s seven continental summits two years ago, Lori Schneider has been working toward a dream of bringing others with MS to climb a mountain. Part of that preparation is climbing Mount Ashwabay three to four times a day. Of course, the 300-foot Ashwabay is a far cry from the 19,340-foot Kilimanjaro.

In July, the 54-year-old Bayfield woman will continue her dream by traveling to Tanzania where she’ll lead a special group of people to scale Mount Kilimanjaro.
“Nothing short of dramatic,” Schneider said of the journey. ”It’s a long, long walk. We’ll be walking five, six, seven hours a day through terrain that starts out with monkeys swinging in the trees. By the time we get to the top, it’s more moonscape almost, sometimes with a little snow.”

Fifteen people, four with Parkinson’s disease and 11 with multiple sclerosis, are signed up. Schneider, who was diagnosed with MS in 1999, says they’ve all been cleared by their doctors and they all have healthy partners to help summit Kilimanjaro.

“I’m absolutely not afraid because they are all determined and have a very strong spirit and that’s what it takes,” she said. “I don’t feel we are putting ourselves at risk by climbing because we are going with expert guides.”

Forty-six-year-old Susie Weber, of Jackson, was diagnosed with MS in 1987. Like everyone else in the group, she’s never climbed a mountain before.

“I thought it would be a life-changing experience and I thought what it could do to me, how I could help other people too,” Weber said. ”People ask me a lot of questions about it and then I’m in this spot where I can be a good example if I want to.”

One more thing, Lori Schneider’s partner in the climb is her 79-year-old father, Neal, of Janesville.

A website, www.mscurefund.org, is raising money for scholarships to help pay for the expedition.