It was a wonderful story – that tennis star Martina Navratilova, who has made such a big difference in the world in so many ways, was going to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. She was diagnosed and treated for breast cancer earlier this year, and pronounced clean. The journey was to raise money for the Laureus Foundation, which provides sports equipment and fields for poor kids around the world.
I was following her blog on the trek. The first day was easy – walking through maize fields, just a gentle slope. On the second day, the climb was steeper – and there were few views: the heavy fog and mist obscured everything. Very unusual for this time of year. And it only got worse. A blizzard on Wednesday. Then Martina wasn’t feeling good – she couldn’t get enough air.
On Thursday, she was carried off the mountain and flown to a Nairobi hospital with high-altitude pulmonary edema – fluid in her lungs. The news brought in more contributions, so it’s all helping children. And the disappointed Martina was released from the hospital yesterday. There is a very discouraged looking picture of her on the Sports Illustrated website.
It’s okay, Martina. You took the challenge, the conditions were way worse than normal, and you couldn’t summit. You are still brave and resourceful. And a force for good in this world.