Wichitan hopes to ascend summit of Mount Kili on Jan. 16
By Christopher M. Riggs
Diane Molitor-Palmer will be able to mark a line through one of the items on her bucket list after Jan. 16.
Palmer, a member of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, plans to climb Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro on Jan. 16 to raise money for five Catholic missions on the continent. Mount Kilimanjaro, located in Tanzania, is 19,340 feet high and is the highest mountain in Africa.
“Several years ago I decided to put together a vision board about things that I would like to do in the next five or 10 years,” she said in a telephone interview. “One of the continents I had not traveled to was Africa so I put Africa down as something that I wanted to do. Then I saw an article about Mount Kilimanjaro and I thought, ‘Oh, what an interesting thing – and I put it up next to my Africa on the vision board.”

Palmer, who became a sponsor of a child in Kenya through the Christian Foundation for Children & Aging, put a photo of her sponsored child next to Mt. Kilimanjaro. “Each day I would go by and as I was thinking about Africa I knew it was time for me to make a decision. As I approached my 65th birthday I thought if I’m going to climb Mount Kilimanjaro I need to do that now.”
She then developed the idea of helping children in Africa. She was also inspired by the education she received by the different religious orders of sisters who gave her so much. “They provided me with a life that I had no idea that I would ever have. I decided it was time to give back to those who gave so much.”
After finding out that the Kansas sisters also had missions in Africa she decided she wanted to raise funds for those missions.
Family and friends have mixed reactions to her plans. Some are enthusiastic and others fear for her safety. Palmer said she isn’t worried. “I’m a good traveler,” she said.
To prepare for her journey to the top of the mountain, Palmer has been training six days a week. Twice a week she stair-steps Cessna Stadium at Wichita State University followed by several miles on the track. Her personal best is 14,500 stair steps, which is equal to climbing the stairs of a 906 story building and she did four miles around the track all in one session. She also works out at a YMCA and hikes the bluffs and cliffs near Medicine Lodge.
The five missions Palmer is climbing for all have roots in Kansas. The ministries benefit children with rickets and polio, a library and literacy center, schools for girls and young women, and for nutrition education. She plans to visit and volunteer at each mission after her climb. Here are the ministries:
• Dominican Sisters of Peace, Kaduna, Nigeria, Hope for the Village Child, www.oppeace.org
• Sisters of Charity, BVM, Kumasi, Ghana, the Library and literacy Center, www.bvmcong.org
• Adorers of the Blood of Christ, Manyoni, Tanzania, schools for children, www.adorers.org
• Congregation of St. Joseph sisters, Songea, Tanzania, school for girls in rural areas, www.csjoseph.org
• Christian Foundation for Children & Aging, Nairobi, Kenya, education and nutrition, www.cfcausa.org
After making the climb Palmer will spend two months volunteering at each of the Missions. She hopes to be back on the plains of Kansas by April 1.


Want to help Palmer help the missions?
To follow Palmer or to make a tax-deductible donation, go to www.adventurediane.blogspot.com or email adventurediane@gmail.com. Make out a check to the organization or ministeries of your choice and mail it to Diane Molitor Palmer, Mt. Kili Charity Climb, PO Box 543, Wichita, KS 67201. You may follow her on her training, her climb, and on safari at her blog, on twitter @adventurediane and facebook@Diane Palmer.
She especially hopes that schools will follow her on her blog so as to develop a relationship with a mission in Africa and consider helping her raise money. The top fundraising school will have its name printed on a 2-foot by 3-foot banner which will be taken and photographed at the summit and at the five missions. Palmer said 96 to 100 percent of every dollar donated will go to the intended recipient.