You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Area students defy physical limitations, will climb Mt. Kilimanjaro


Two area college students can readily identify with author Cheryl Strayed and her challenging journey.

The University of Dayton’s Eric M. Oberwise and the University of Cincinnati’s Katie Taylor have both faced serious setbacks in their lives but have determined to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in August.

The two will make the climb to raise funds for May We Help, an Cincinnati-based all-volunteer organization that helps turn “an inability into a capability” by creating and building innovative devices for those who want to pursue a passion but have been thwarted by physical limitations. The one-of-a-kind assistive devices have helped disabled individuals do everything from paint a picture and ride a bicycle to turn the pages in a book.

Facing challenges

In Strayed’s case, it was the loss of her mother that led to an emotional crisis and her determination to make a demanding solo hike. For Oberwise, it was an emergency trip to the hospital which resulted in the removal of half his colon. While lying in his hospital bed waiting to learn whether or not he had cancer, he vowed to change the course of his life by using his engineering education to help others.

Taylor, who became paralyzed after a skiing accident at age 16 and was told she would never walk again, says climbing Kilimanjaro will prove to herself and the rest of the world that anyone who has suffered or struggled can do anything they set their mind to do.

“In the first few months of my recovery, I found an article about a man who had been paralyzed from the neck down,” says Taylor, who is from Oakwood and is now an architecture student at U.C. ” He made a miraculous recovery, and now he runs in Iron Man triathlons. I promised myself that someday I would do something like that. Climbing Kilimanjaro is going to be my Iron Man. If I could prove doctors wrong and learn to walk against all odds, I can climb this mountain, and if I can climb Kilimanjaro, then I can do anything.”

Their stories

After learning he did not have cancer, Oberwise changed his college minor to bioengineering, started the UD chapter of the Biomedical Engineering Society, and got involved in UD’s ETHOS program which will take him to Africa in May to help develop renewable and sustainable technologies. Now he is also raising funds for May We Help.

Katie’s mother says despite the “mom” voice in her head that wants to wrap her child in bubble wrap and protect her from bad things, she and her husband continue to be their daughter’s biggest cheerleaders.

“Katie has demonstrated over and over again her ability to manage the ups and downs of dealing with her physical and medical challenges,” says Denise Taylor. “She wants to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro as a gesture and encouragement to others to climb whatever their personal mountain is too. My heart bursts with pride and respect for her. “

Katie says although some people say their lives flash before their eyes when they have a near-death experience, in her case it was her future that flashed before her eyes.

“I pictured prom, graduation, my father walking me down the aisle, all things that I wanted to do standing on my own two feet,” she says. When a hospital psychologist asked her how she felt knowing she might never walk again, Katie screamed at him to get out of her room and find her someone who was going to give her hope, not squash it.

“It turns out that I was right,” she says now. “Twenty-six days after the accident, I moved a toe. A week later I moved another toe, then my ankle, and then my thigh. Two months after my accident, my physical therapist tied my feet at right angles, and I hauled myself up and “walked” between parallel bars. Eight months after the accident, I started walking without any form of assistance.”

Oberwise says the climb is certain to be one of the greatest challenges Katie will face in her lifetime.

“In every sense of the word she will be conquering — conquering any fear she may have about the trek, conquering any physical deficit that others may have thought she had, and, most importantly, conquering the negative paths life offers by doing this for an incredible cause,” he says.

As for himself, Oberwise sees Kilimanjaro as the symbol of the personal changes he determined to make when he was lying in that hospital bed.

“Katie, myself, and Chris Kubik — the project director of May We Help — will be pushing ourselves to the limit to not only make a statement about the people we represent but to also find the sense of clarity that come from an experience as life-altering as something like this,” he says.

He quotes Cheryl Strayed: “Uncertain as I was as I pushed forward, I felt right in my pushing, as if the effort itself meant something.”

For information or to pledge to May We Help, see www.maywehelp.org

To view examples of the inspirational work done by May We Help, see


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in

New ‘oldest person in world’ is 117, explains secret to longevity
New ‘oldest person in world’ is 117, explains secret to longevity

Violet Mosse-Brown of Jamaica is officially the oldest living person in the world, at 117 years of age. Mosse-Brown earned the title after the death of Emma Morano of Italy, who died earlier this week at 117 years, 137 days old. Mosse-Brown has a simple secret to her longevity. “Really and truly, when people ask what me eat and drink to live...
Police officer helps boy tie necktie in heartwarming viral photo
Police officer helps boy tie necktie in heartwarming viral photo

A police officer is going viral after teaching a boy how to tie a tie when he was “too embarrassed” to ask for help. X’zavier was at the Indiana Statehouse recently to receive the “Youth of the Year” award from his local Boys and Girls Club, according to Inside Edition. X’zavier was escorted to the ceremony...
Spring cleaning your computer

As you’re doing spring cleaning around the home, don’t forget about your computer! It needs taken care of, too. Here are a few things you should consider doing to keep your computer in tip-top shape: Run a malware scanner to remove junk: Along with having an anti-virus installed, consider a secondary anti-malware program. They can catch...
D.L. STEWART: Enjoying Major League Baseball by the numbers

In the latest example of fascinating Major League Baseball statistics, studies show that a 29-year-old centerfielder saves an average of four fewer runs per season than a 28-year-old centerfielder, The New York Times reported this week. While you may wonder why a prestigious newspaper would use valuable space to report stuff like that, baseball fans...
Study: Diet drinks can lead to stroke, dementia
Study: Diet drinks can lead to stroke, dementia

Diet sodas — one of America's favorite caffeine-delivery systems — appears to be just as unhealthy as their sugary cousins The Washington Post reports that a new study refutes the theory that diet drinks are a better option than those made with sugar or corn syrup. The new study in the journal Stroke says people who drink diet soda...
More Stories