Local woman climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for daughter's rare disease
Ruth Ann Ahnen is a swim coach by day, but I'd dare to call her supermom by night. She took on Mt. Kilimanjaro this January, a feat fewer than half the people who try actually succeed.
\"I think we kind of underestimated the mountain,\" Ahnan said.
Ruth Ann's inspiration was her 24-year-old daughter Katie who suffers from the rare blood disorder cystinosis. It can cause the organs to fail, because blood cells are not flowing correctly through the body. Everyday Katie takes around 30 pills. Before her kidney transplant it was double that. Cystinosis affects only about 500 people worldwide.
Drawing from the strength of her daughter, Ruth Ann fearlessly climbed the mountain. She summited 19,000 to the Uhuru peak in 4 days. Her daughter and other cystinosis patients were heavy on her mind.
\"There really were moments where I just wanted to sit on a rock and say, you guys go and I'll see you when you get back, but I couldn't disappoint them,\" Ahnen said.
At one point there was a snowstorm and 50 mile per hour winds, but she didn't stop until they made it.
If you would like to support Ruth Ann and Katie as they work to raise awareness to find a cure to cystinosis. You can donate here.