Elderly PEI man to climb Mount Kilimanjaro for charity

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A potato farmer from Prince Edward Island is about to take the journey of his life, to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

The 72-year-old’s bucket list climb will support another passion project.

Barry Cudmore has been a farmer all his life, working on his family farm, but he also did something a little more. For more than 40 years, he has raised funds to help people living in East Africa.

Cudmore is one of the original founders of Farmers Helping Farmers. The group supports farmers in Kenya with tools and techniques for better farming, as well as providing 3,000 meals a day to children in the country.

Farmers Helping Farmers has helped around 100,000 people living in Kenya since fundraising began in 1980.

Cudmore usually hosts a summer barbecue to raise funds, but COVID-19 has thrown a spanner in the works.

“And I thought, well, if we’re a bit short of those funds, maybe that’s something that will attract people,” Cudmore said. “They can follow my journey, and also be with me in some way, and contribute to our projects.”

At over 19,000 feet, Kilimanjaro is Africa’s highest peak and one of the only mountains of this height in the world that you can reach without specialist climbing equipment.

“Some people say I’m pretty crazy doing this,” Cudmore said. “Some say I should be retired and not even cultivate, so I say, ‘Retire and do what?’ So might as well try to reach the summit of Kilimanjaro.

It’s not the first serious climb the 72-year-old has taken. He hiked Mount Everest Base Camp in 2019, as well as peaks in Poland, Maine and Alaska.

“Right now, I just want to get there and do it, and let my life get back to some level of normalcy,” Cudmore said. “All my waking hours and most of my sleeping hours, it’s there and it won’t go away until we do.”

Cudmore has already raised around $2,000 for the cause. His goal is $19,341 – $1 for every foot of the mountain’s towering height.

Donations to Cudmore’s cause can be made online.

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