If you’ve never heard of Sagamartha or Chomolungma, you’re probably not alone. But chances are, you’ve seen pictures of this place. And if you’re one of the more adventurous types, you might have even secretly wished to scale it yourself. Curious? Read on…

Rick Poole, an adventurer, businessman, husband, father, and longtime supporter of Kids Alive, is up to something big. A veteran mountaineer, Rick has five of the world’s highest summits under his belt and he’s well on his way to a sixth. But this one is different: he’s climbing to raise $29,035.00 for at-risk children and orphans. If that seems like an odd number, don’t worry because we’ll circle back to it. First, let’s take a look at life as an at-risk child.

Scaling the world’s highest peaks is an intensely demanding activity. Every step counts. Sadly, that is the reality that millions of children around the world face every day. Instead of a dangerous precipice, these children face abject poverty, hunger, illness, exploitation, and abuse. A misstep means becoming another sad statistic instead of reaching their full potential. The unusual fundraising goal that Rick has set will go toward helping children climb life’s steps with strength and confidence. Before leaving on this adventure, Rick told Kids Alive, “With every step of this risky climb, I will be thinking of the poor and often traumatized children whose faces greeted me in Dominican Republic when I traveled there with Kids Alive. I want to create more smiles!”

Rick is dedicated to raising $1.00 for every one of the 29,035 feet he will climb to the top of the world’s highest summit, with the hopes of putting smiles on the faces of children scaling their own difficult journeys. The peak Rick is climbing, known to the Nepalese people as “Sagamartha” and to the Tibetans as “Chomolungma”, is what we call Mt. Everest.

Rick is expected to arrive at Mt. Everest Base Camp, located at 17,500 feet above sea level, later this week. After a period of acclimatization and preparation, Rick will make his way to the summit of Everest during the third week of May.

“Photo above: Rick Poole with wife Meagan and daughter Sydney, along with Rick’s Mt. Everest guide, Kami Rita Sherpa. Kami holds the current world record with 23 summits on Mt. Everest!”