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UCONN students climb Kilimanjaro and Machu Picchu for Make-A-Wish

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STORRS -- Jeremy Keckler doesn’t back down from a challenge.

“The sense of adventure and also just being able to give back to the community, was too exciting to pass up,” says Keckler.

As a student at the University of Connecticut, Keckler rallied fellow classmates in 2017 to climb what some would call the unthinkable, Mt. Kilimanjaro.

“We got to the lookout where we were above the clouds, all just like taking pictures together and our guides were starting to sing songs and stuff like that it was great to just look back and see how much progress we had made, and look above to see where we were going.” says Keckler

For the young people involved the trek had them going from jungle terrain to wintery conditions relying on teamwork and training to accomplish their goal.

“We were there for 10 or 11 days and a hike took about six days, it was four days up and two days down, so it was a long track and the team we had there was amazing,” says the 21-year-old.”

The UCONN team was focused on more than just the adventure. This trip and a second Keckler led up Machu Picchu was raising money, and a lot of it. The students had sponsors and across the two trips raised tens of thousands of dollars for Make-A-Wish Connecticut. The Charitable journeys were part of the growing non-profit, Choose A Challenge.

“The whole idea is to go and do something incredible for yourself while doing something incredible for other people which means goals that range from $3000-$6000 Become more achievable because you know you have a huge lifetime payoff at the end of it,” says Choose A Challenge USA CEO, Simon Varley.

Keckler knew he wanted Make-A-Wish to benefit from the Huskies’ hard work after interning with the organization. He hopes to stay connected to non-profit work after graduation.

“I think in some capacity, I am not sure when or how but I definitely want to keep going forward with the nonprofit sector in some way, it is just a really exciting place to be and a really rewarding field to work in,” says Keckler.

This year Keckler says one group from UCONN will return to Kilimanjaro and he’ll lead a second running a marathon in Scotland to raise even more money for Make-A-Wish.

Want to support Keckler and his classmates?


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