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Woburn, MA – September 4, 2019 - Yesterday, a group of athletes with Down syndrome and cerebral palsy started to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, becoming one of the first groups of Russian people with disabilities to take on this trek. This expedition, ‘Kilimanjaro. I can!’ is a collaborative project of Kaspersky, Syndrome of Love and Downside Up - two charity foundations aimed at breaking the stereotypes about physical disability associated with these conditions. The project has been launched to show that even the most seemingly unattainable dreams can come true.
The main participants of the expedition are Stanislav Bogdanov and Stepan Bezrukov, who are a pair of young people with Down syndrome, the famous marathon runner with cerebral palsy Pavel Krysanov, and resident of the Udomlya Orphanage in Tver city, Russia, Alexander Lebedev. The support team includes a climbing instructor, coach, doctor, employees of the Syndrome of Love foundation and a Kaspersky volunteer.
Stanislav, Stepan, and Pavel lead an active lifestyle, being professional athletes as well as role models for many people with the same health conditions, inspiring them to go beyond their limits. For them, an expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro is an extraordinary opportunity to show that there are no barriers for people with Down’s syndrome or cerebral palsy and they can reach any goals they want to achieve in life.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa with the summit reaching over 19,000 feet above sea level. The team will take the Marangu route, the oldest and most established route on Kilimanjaro, and plans to reach the top by September 10.
“It’s often believed that people with Down syndrome have many limitations in life but this is not true – they have the same opportunities as all of us,” says Irina Menshnina, director of Syndrome of Love foundation. “Just as any of us, they can climb the highest mountain in Africa, and we are here to help them reach new heights. With this project we will be also raising funds for the Syndrome of Love foundation to help many other people with Down syndrome make their dreams come true.”
Along with raising awareness about these conditions, the project’s goal is to raise funds for Syndrome of Love foundation’s educational and developmental programs for people with Down syndrome. The participants aim to raise 589,500 rubles (approximately $9,000), which equals the height of Kilimanjaro in meters, and welcome anybody who can donate and support the project. The fundraising is open on the JustGiving platform where people can donate any money they can spare for the cause and become a part of the project. The results will be announced at the end of September and Kaspersky will double the final sum of the funds raised.
“This journey will draw attention to the issues and stereotypes people with disabilities face and will show that we are capable of going far beyond the limits set by the society,” says Pavel Krysanov, who ran 17 marathons and one off-road ultra-marathon. “We hope that this amazing project will help to change the perception of the society towards people with disabilities,”
‘Kilimanjaro. I can!’ is a story of effort and struggle against improbabilities. It serves as an example for all people who find themselves in a difficult life situation that anything is possible and there are always people around who are ready to support them.
Eugene Kaspersky, CEO of Kaspersky, wished members of the expedition the best of luck saying, “A few years ago I also climbed to the top of Kilimanjaro, and I can say for sure it’s not easy. Still, fulfilling your dreams rarely is. So here’s wishing the courageous expedition the very best of luck! I really do envy you in that soon you’ll be seeing the breathtakingly beautiful sights of Kilimanjaro for the first time – for the first time is always the best. Have a super expedition, and Godspeed!”
Live updates from the expedition will be shared on Kaspersky social media channels and can be followed by using the hashtag #ICanKili.
Kaspersky is a global cybersecurity company founded in 1997. Kaspersky’s deep threat intelligence and security expertise is constantly transforming into innovative security solutions and services to protect businesses, critical infrastructure, governments and consumers around the globe. The company’s comprehensive security portfolio includes leading endpoint protection and a number of specialized security solutions and services to fight sophisticated and evolving digital threats. Over 400 million users are protected by Kaspersky technologies and we help 270,000 corporate clients protect what matters most to them. Learn more at www.kaspersky.com.
About Syndrome of Love
The charitable fund supporting people with Down syndrome, Syndrome of Love, has been established with the aim of creating opportunities and fulfilling the lives of people with Down syndrome in Russia. Syndrome of Love has two principal objectives: fund-raising for programs supporting people with Down syndrome and raising public awareness about Down syndrome. There are many ways to help people with Down syndrome: become a volunteer, participate in Sport for Good and Athlete for Good projects and activities, or make donations on the website https://sindromlubvi.ru/ in the “How to help” section.
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