Four local women went on a brisk walk along Fort Lauderdale Beach Monday – as they prepare for a much more daunting physical challenge next week.
Tina Yeager, Jen Klaassens, Debbie Dingle and Jill Taylor plan to hike up the world’s highest mountain, Mount Everest, to draw attention to modern-day slavery on the Freedom Climb 2013.
"To be the voice for the voiceless is really the reason behind all four of us climbing,” Klaassens said.
The South Florida women will join 45 other women from around the globe to bring attention to the crime. Each is raising $10,000 to help the victims.
“Thirty-two billion dollars (are) made every year in human trafficking,” said Yeager, who is the Freedom Climb director. For that reason, she said, it would be “atrocious” not to do something about it.
The 2013 Freedom Climbers plan to hike to Everest Base Camp, at 17,598 feet above sea level, before they reach their highest altitude when they summit Kalaphatar at 18,192 feet.
The South Florida women are working out in the warm sunshine now, but it will be cold, rugged, and treacherous on their way up Everest. So, preparation is key.
“(I) climb the condo stairs where I live. I also do the incline on the treadmill,” Dingle said.
Yeager said that during last year’s trek to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro she wanted to quite many times, but she had a focus that kept her climbing. She thought about a picture of a little girl she had seen in India.
“If we don’t do something, that little girl who’s on the street corner, begging, would be sold for prostitution,” Yeager said.