Fundraising at new heights: Thrillseekers to jump off Mt Kilimanjaro for charity

By Katie Harris

Four men have joined a mission to take fundraising to new heights.

The thrillseekers, all in their 20s, will paraglide off  Mt Kilimanjaro, the tallest standalone mountain in Africa, to fundraise $40,000 for Emboreet Primary School in Tanzania.

Fly the Roof team members Guido Loeffler, Harry Seagar, Ryan Wilkes and Chris Cain have dedicated this year to both fundraising and training for the trip - some of them going to extreme measures to up their flying time.

Loeffler gave up a full-time job to train for the event. 

The team want to use their story to raise money and awareness about issues faced by rural Tanzanian children, in a country where the climate crisis is making survival increasingly difficult.

 

"All of the money goes directly to charity, unlike other charities we pay all of our own expenses," Seagar said. 

At 5895m Mt Kilimanjaro is one of the tallest mountains in the world, but the boys believe the climb itself won't be as challenging as the descent. 

"It's not dangerous unless you're not aware, then it is dangerous," Seagar said.

Due to the low levels of oxygen at the high level of altitude, the thrill-seekers have to be incredibly fit to complete the leap.

"The toughest part is the take-off, if we get up there and there's not that much wind, we have to get a good run-up to generate enough wind to get the wings up," Seagar said.

Mt Kilimanjaro is the longest hike and paraglide in the world -  the men are required to be in peak physical and mental health. The four men have been working out regularly in the altitude training facility Vertex in Christchurch, where they were able to use an altitude chamber for cardio training to help acclimatise to the lower oxygen levels.

Cain has since left New Zealand and is now living in his van in Australia, in an effort to fly almost every day and save money for their trip. 

They will be releasing a documentary on their adventure later in the year. 

The annual Wings of Kilimanjaro event began in 2013. To date, it's raised more than NZ$1.1 million, with this year's donations going to installing solar panels, a communication tower and a classroom at the school.

You can donate to the cause here.

Newshub.