In 2016, 21 individual joined our mission to eliminate Fistula in Ethiopia by campaigned for more than six months to raise funds for Healing Hands of Joy. They all of them exceeded their targeted goals and raised a total amount of more than $122,000. By mid-July they all traveled to Tanzania to climb to the top of Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro.

One of the youngest climbers, Lizzie Campbell, 15, began the conversation about a benefit climb for HHOJ with Allison Shigo two years ago. For Lizzie, learning about the women from her mother's trip to Ethiopia who suffer from obstetric fistula at age 13 was beyond her imagination. She says, "I think that being a teenage girl, like many of the women impacted, I can sympathize with them on a personal level. I can't imagine being married, pregnant, and then developing a horrible condition like fistula at the age of 15."

On the day they climb to the top of Africa, Lizze wrote this: “All 21 of us summited! … it was the hardest thing we had ever done. … We walked straight uphill for eight hours- and the more we walked the thinner the air got. As we walked I had to continue to remind myself why we were there and that was to help women who have obstetric fistula. … I was reminded to really appreciate the privilege of this experience but also why I was there and how special it was. … Tears began to stream as we made our last steps and the sun rose to greet us at the top. … The whole trip was a success and it couldn't have been better. Looking back now, I realize that no matter how hard things get, there is someone who has it harder.” (Please read the Blog to read more on Joy Climbers once in a lifetime experience.)