Cassidy Phillips, CEO of Southwest Austin–based company Trigger Point Therapy, is getting ready to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.
Phillips said he has always been drawn to extreme sports, but he is motivated by more than the challenge of hiking 5,000 feet higher than the highest point in North America. Phillips is part of a group from Central Texas planning to take the Tanzanian trek in mid-June to raise funds for Real Life Missions' campaign to change the world one climb at a time. The Southwest Austin–based nonprofit aims to raise $100,000 for education, economic development, clean water and medical improvements in Vea, a Ghanian village.
Micah Davidson, lead pastor at Circle C–based church Real Life Austin, adopted a child from Vea, which lacks a clean water source or electricity.
"My mission in life is to give people quality of life," Phillips said, adding: "When you look at the simplicity of this little town in Ghana and you look at what they don't have, anything that you provide for them gives them a better quality of life than they had yesterday."
So far $17,565 has been raised, according to the nonprofit's website, which states that all donations go to Vea rather than administrative costs or climbers.
Phillips said several of the climbers live in Southwest Austin, and the trip has personal significance for each of them, Phillips said.
After Phillips was diagnosed with fibromyalgia—a syndrome characterized by chronic pain—doctors said he had to give up being an athlete. In response, he developed self-care and massage products to keep his condition under control without medication. He said he hopes his participation will help villagers overcome challenges.
"By being able to provide some very simple medical [supplies] and water filters and an area for these kids to play in and enjoy life, I personally believe that that's going to give them the ability to understand that by doing things and being healthy physically, then mentally they're going to know that they can do anything in life as long as they put their mind to it."
More information about the campaign is available at https://www.changeghana.org.