Climbing For Claw
Did you know it takes an average of 38 960 steps to climb Mount Kilimanjaro? With every step, Claw (Community Led Animal Welfare) veterinary nurse Jennifer Gerner, of Edenvale, Johannesburg, will ascent the highest mountain in Africa in a quest to help improve the lives of thousands of animals in need.
Originally from Canada, Jennifer moved to South Africa in 2009, specifically to work at Claw.
“Animals have always been my passion, and my life, and working at Claw gives me the sense that I am making a difference in some small way. If it is just to give them a warm blanket, or a good meal, it might be something small but hopefully it makes a difference to that one dog or cat,” says Jennifer.
“Nothing makes me feel better than seeing a dog or cat that I helped, returned to their owner happy and healthy, or helping an animal that was unwanted by one family to find another. I believe in Claw and the work that we do. It is my passion in life.”
Although fighting fit, Jennifer says climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is going to be one of the hardest things she has ever done, both physically and mentally, but she’s determined to do it!
“I have been a member of a gym for over 15 years and I go four times a week. I also have a personal trainer who is tailoring a workout plan specifically for this climb. She has also worked out a meal plan for me, for the next six months, to maximise muscle gain and work on strengthening my core. I will also be training in nature reserves by my house and working on my cardiovascular system.”
Jennifer’s closest friend of 15 years, Darlene Leonard, will be climbing with her, as well as fundraising for Claw in Canada. Darlene is a professional athlete and competes in Spartan Races all around North America.
“Darlene is my motivation and my rock,” adds Jennifer. “Nothing about this climb scares me. I think it will be a trip of a lifetime and I am so excited that I have my closest friend to share this with. Failure is not an option for me, and I am determined to summit Kilimanjaro and plant the Claw flag at the top!”
The two friends are planning to start their climb on September 6 and end their journey on September 13.
Claw has created a Facebook page called ‘Kilimanjaro for CLAW’ and, so far, has raised about R4 000. The goal is to encourage people to ‘sponsor a step’, which costs R10, and the aim is to raise goal is to fund raise for 38 790 more steps. Another way people can help is to have their company logo added to the Claw flag at a cost of R1000. This flag will be placed on the summit of Kilimanjaro.
Taren Welthagen, director of Claw, explains that funds raised through the climb will go towards helping Claw continue with their vital services in some of the poorest communities. “Claw is hoping to raise R100 000 through the Mount Kilimanjaro climb, which will cover the cost of six months of dog and cat vaccinations. Currently Claw vaccinates about 1000 animals a month, and treats in excess of 4500 (inclusive of all treatments – vaccinations, sterilisations, accidents, biliary treatment, etc.).”
For more information visit their Facebook page.