W&C Journal: Female Amputee to Take on the Seven Summits
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While serving in the military, Kristie Ennis lost her leg to a helicopter crash. Today, she’s tackling the 7-summits in an attempt to encourage other amputees to be a product of their pursuits. Ennis is a USMC Vet, an advocate for amputee rights, and the host of Adventures Enabled.
Kiristie Ennis lost her leg to a helicopter crash while serving as a US Marine. After losing her leg, she lost the ability to serve people in the way in which she knew how. Until now. Ennis is determined to tackle the 7 tallest mountains in the world. But what’s even more extraordinary is that she intends to climb for other people, regaining her sense of service while she climbs: “If I can inspire one person or put a smile on someone’s face, I’m still serving people in a different way,” Ennis states.
The seven summits range from Puncak Jaya’s 16,024 feet in elevation to Mt. Everest’s daunting 29,029 feet. Mountain weather is mercurial in temperament. The elevations that Ennis will reach bring a whole different type of risk to climbing. But Ennis will not be deterred.
With Kilimanjaro (19,341 feet) under her belt, she’s headed to Denali (20,308 feet) this year. But Ennis admits that it’s not always easy: “While you’re climbing, you’re exhausted and beat down in an extreme amount of pain. I’d be lying if I said it was easy. [But] this isn’t really about me anymore. I know I can climb the mountains. There’s no doubt in my mind that I can stand on top of Everest but I want to showcase to people that there’s more.” Ennis’s goal is not only to reach the top of the seven tallest mountains in the world, she also wants to encourage other people to re-define their perceived limitations.
In addition to inspiring people, she’s making significant headway in the realm of prosthetics: “I’ve been engineering knees and feet. The things that I have made for me now are prototypes. What if we could figure out how to get these [prototypes] to the older and younger generations?” Ennis states.
Ennis intends to explore the possibility of re-designing and manufacturing the next generation of prosthetic parts not only to make her own journey possible, but also to bring these prototypes to other amputees. The 7-summits are, in themselves, an ambitious endeavor. But Ennis’s desire to serve others through her mountaineering experience stands as a testament to her true strength.
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Written By: Mary Beth Skylis