‘My biggest worry ... altitude;’ Area student prepping to climb Africa’s tallest mountain

CENTERVILLE — Have you heard of someone raising awareness for cancer by climbing one of the tallest mountains in the world?

Jacob Heil, a local college student, is climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, the dormant volcano in Tanzania, to honor his father.

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He told News Center’s 7 Kayla McDermott his father died of cancer just over a year ago.

“My dad was diagnosed with cancer in 2001,” Heil said. “I’ve always been super close to him.”

Heil said his father was huge advocate for raising awareness about the illness.

“It would be great to carry on my dad’s legacy,” Heil said.

Heil hopes to raise money while he’s on the journey.

An estimated 30,000 people a year attempt to climb Kilimanjaro, which at 19,341 feet is the world’s tallest freestanding mountain.

“My biggest worry is the altitude,” he said about the climb.

He said he has been getting in a lot of training by running and using the StairMaster.

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Heil said he has no doubt he will make it to the top of the summit and remembers his dad’s favorite quote: “Never give up.”

Heil said all the time, money and fundraising will push him to the summit.

“It’s going to be super emotional at the top,” he said.

He said his goal is to climb the highest mountains on each continent to remember his father and raise awareness about cancer.