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Summiting for children living in poverty!

29-year-old Matthew from Western Australia has set himself an incredibly ambitious goal – to climb the Seven Summits and raise money for charity with each of these incredible climbs.

The Seven Summits are the highest mountains in each of the world`s seven continents, a challenge certainly not for the faint-hearted!

Matt began with Mt Elbrus in July 2014, the highest mountain in Russia and considered one of the world`s most deadly peaks. Mt Elbrus sits a daunting 5,642m above sea level, on the border of Asia and Europe. Its snow-capped peak makes this five-day climb a challenge for even the experienced climber.

Having climbed peaks in Nepal including trekking to Everest Base Camp, Matt had some experience but to conquer Mt Elbrus he had to devise a serious training schedule. You could often find Matt in the gym twice daily or stair-training with his trekking pack firmly hoisted on his back. After a gruelling six months and only-after purchasing all essential equipment, including thermals and some heavy-duty boots for the snow, was he ready to take on Elbrus!

At 4am on 15 July, Matt set off for his climb from base camp at 3,700m above sea level to the summit of Mt Elbrus at 5,642m. “The weather came in so I was stuck in a snow storm. We were glad we made it to the top under the dangerous conditions but were keen to get down before it became too dangerous. It was so cold that most of our camera batteries froze and did not work.”

Matt was a man of few words at the end of his climb; perhaps a sign of exhaustion after what has been a massive 2014 so far. “It was tough but we got there!”

But climbing all seven summits is only half of the challenge for Matt, and fellow climber Nik. “We want to raise awareness of struggling children in developing countries as we are so lucky to be a part of developed nations and it is up to us to be able to use our resources available to help those less fortunate than us,” Matt says.

Prior to departure, fundraising was at the forefront of their minds with the pair eager to support children in Laos and help clear unexploded bombs leftover from the Vietnam War that cover much of Laos` countryside.

Matt and Nik knows how important their fundraising is clearing land in northern Laos means communities, with ChildFund`s support, can make way for new schools, play areas and farmland, and most importantly prevent injuries and even death from bomb accidents.

Matt and Nik raised an incredible $3,882 which means over 80,000m2 of land can be cleared.

The trekker`s fundraising was truly a group effort with much of the funds raised through their work. Matt`s work team even got involved by collecting coins on the weekends. “I really need to thank the residents and the ALC team at Barrow Island, my friends and family for their support, my wife and son for letting me go and Funky Trunks for sponsoring us and giving us merchandise to use to raise funds.”

Matt`s next challenge is our very own Mt Kosciuszko on 7 February 2015. He`ll be inviting others to climb with him. We can’t wait to hear all about it!

ChildFund Australia would like to say a big thank you to Matt, Nik and their entire trekking team for their amazing commitment to raising funds to help children living in poverty in Laos. 

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