Updated 07 September 2015

SA's Michaela Mycroft the 1st female quadriplegic to summit Kilimanjaro

Cape Town's Michaela Mycroft, founder of the Chaeli Campaign, has become the first female quadriplegic to summit Mount Kilimanjaro after reaching the summit in early on Wednesday morning.


Michaela Mycroft, who suffers from cerebral palsy has become the first female quadriplegic to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, after reaching the top of the Uhuru Peak on the 3rd of September.

Michaela, better known as Chaeli, set of with her team of 'Kili Climbers' on the 29th of August, after undergoing extensive training to prepare for the ascent. This included altitude training to prevent altitude sickness and assembling a specialised team of guides, porters and fellow climbers capable of assisting Chaeli. She also needed a custom-made wheelchair specially designed to cope with the mountain terrain.

The team was led by Carel Verhoef who has climbed Kilimanjaro once a year for the past nine years. The entire journey was documented on sponsor Discover Africa's website and on social media using the hashtag #ClimbwithChaeli . The team also used a SPOT Gen3 tracker that was attached to Chaeli's wheelchair. This allowed for the team's position to be tracked every 10 minutes on a GPS map. The team also called home using a satellite phone to give updates on their journey.

Listen to this clip from the team confirming that they had reached the summit:

Chaeli and her team training in Cape Town in July 2015.

chaeli and team

The custom-made wheelchair Chaeli used to climb Mount Kilimanjaro.

chaeli custom wheelchair

Helen Zille wished Chaeli and her team well ahead of the climb:

About Chaeli and the Chaeli Campaign

Chaeli, together with her sister Erin and a couple of friends from school, founded the Chaeli Campaign in 2004 in order to raise the R20 000 she needed for a motorised wheelchair. What started out as a relatively small campaign has grown exponentially over the last 11 years with Chaeli and her team proudly participating in a number of Cape Argus Cycle Tours to raise awareness for disability.

Today, the campaign has expanded and now aims to "promote and provide the mobility and educational needs of disabled children under the age of eighteen years, throughout South Africa."

Chaeli, who celebrated her 21st birthday on Kilimanjaro on the 30th of August is currently studying a Bachelor of Social Sciences in Politics and Social Development at the University of Cape Town. She has received a number of noteable awards including the 2011 International Children's Peace Prize, the 2012 Nobel Peace Laureates’ Medal for Social Activism and the 2013 World of Children Youth Award. 

Read more:

SA women climb Mount Kilimanjaro for breast cancer awareness

Teen uses veggie power to conquer Kilimanjaro

Abandoned dog rescued from Poland's highest mountain


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Live healthier

Smoking and weight gain »

Don't think that you're off the hook if you smoke cigars 10 smoking myths people still believe

Quitting smoking? Even a little exercise can help you stay slim

Best results in limiting weight gain after quitting smoking were found in women who engaged in 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity per week.