May 22, 2013
Updated May 22, 2013 at 7:22 PM CDT
PEKIN, Ill. -- You have heard of the St. Jude runs and rides, now comes the St. Jude climb.
Kevin Callis and Andrew Matthews plan to spend six days scaling Mt. Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa and highest free-standing mountain in the world at more than 19,000 feet above sea level.
The two have been training for their climb for a year but say they cannot simulate the conditions they will encounter on their trek here in central Illinois.
"There's a lot of good hiking trails that help get us physically ready but the one aspect that we can't train for here is the altitude and how we'll react at the higher elevations where you have a reduced level of oxygen," said Callis.
The two men have dedicated their climb to raising money and awareness for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis and the Midwest affiliate in Peoria.
"The coolest thing for me is that St. Jude never asks a dime from anybody that they serve," said Matthews. "That's something I can fully get behind, so when Kevin said lets do this, I said absolutely. These are families that deserve this and so much more."
Callis and Matthews will leave Bloomington-Normal for Tanzania on Tuesday and begin their climb a week from Wednesday.