Vancouver lawyer begins Mt. Kilimanjaro climb today

A Vancouver lawyer begins a steep ascent today in a bid to raise money for Alzheimer’s disease.

Barbara Devlin, a partner at Alexander Holburn Beaudin + Lang LLP, will climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania as part of the 2012 Ascent for Alzheimer’s fundraiser in support of the Alzheimer Society of British Columbia. She’s part of an 11-member team that has already raised $200,000, a figure well beyond the $10,000 the event requires each climber to bring in. The firm supported and contributed to Devlin’s efforts, says firm business development co-ordinator Alison Stapleton.

Devlin herself has done lots of community work related to the elderly. She’s on the board of the Victorian Order of Nurses’ B.C. branch and is an advocate for the VON Family respite centre, which provides programs for families with dependent adult relatives living at home. In addition, she has a background in the health-care field through her previous work as a physiotherapist.

The climb up Mount Kilimanjaro will take place over a seven-day period starting today. Devlin and the other climbers all covered their own expenses. They’ll make the nearly 6,000-metre climb with the help of B.C. guide Sue Oakey and Tanzanian leader Seamus Brice-Bennett. The event has raised more than $2 million during the last 15 years.

This year’s climb is also noteworthy for the presence of a couple in their 80s as part of the group. Martin Kafer, 85, will become the oldest person to climb Mount Kilimanjaro on successful completion of the climb. He’s making the trek with his 84-year-old wife Esther.

“I expect I’ll do it,” the avid climber told the Vancouver Sun recently. “I feel great. You gotta keep going, you know. You don’t stop halfway there. If you’re going to keep yourself alive, you have to do the things you like.”

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