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Kilimanjaro Ascent for Arthritis (2007)


In June 2007 five young Sydney-based professionals set out on a journey of a lifetime to climb the highest free standing mountain in the world - the 5895 metre peak of Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro - to raise money for a new Arthritis Australia research grant.

This inspirational climb proved that many of life's obstacles, arthritis included, can be overcome with careful planning, determination and teamwork.

Matthew Leibowitz led the Ascent for Arthritis team. The 26 year old lawyer has a form of arthritis most commonly diagnosed in people between the ages of 16 and 35, ankylosing spondylitis.

Left unchecked ankylosing spondylitis can result in the fusing of vertebrae in the spine. Its slow onset can make it extremely difficult to diagnose and despite the large number of people who develop the condition - 1 in 200 - it is perhaps one of the lesser known forms of the more than 100 different types of arthritis.

Matthew was joined by 19 other climbers, including finance reporter Jonathan Shapiro, currency analyst Daniel Been, marketing professional Peter Collins, and architecture student Jeremy Unger, as well as his rheumatologist Dr Jim Bertouch and Florance and Cope Chair of Rheumatology at The University of Sydney, Professor Philip Sambrook.

More than $60,000 has been raised as a result of the outstanding efforts of sponsors and supporters.

For Arthritis Australia's information sheet on ankylosing spondylitis please click here.

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