North Haven grandmother to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro for good cause

Connecticut Families

Kathleen Bonvicini has been training at The Edge Fitness Club for three months – building strength, balance and resilience for the workout of a lifetime. 

“I have a simple task ahead of me – to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro,” says Kathleen Bonvicini with a smile. 

The North Haven grandmother – 63 years young – is tackling the highest free-standing mountain in Africa to raise funds for two charitable causes. 

“The first one is for the Step Up Center, a non-profit school in Moshi, Tanzania where I volunteered last year,” she says, showing-off pictures of young children who learn English in a small room.  They inspired Bonvicini to do more. 

“The people are so hospitable and they have nothing,” she recalls.  “Yet, smiling faces, they’re giving.  You feel so embraced by them and you want to give.” 

As CEO of the non-profit Institute for Healthcare Communication, her mission also supports the creation of scholarships for healthcare professionals to learn new skills. 

“I’m a lifetime learner and I love the outdoors,” she says.  “I’ve always worked out and I came from a family that’s very athletic.”

But the avid cyclist knows the 19,000 foot ascent will be intense as she adjusts to the altitude and embarks on the grueling stretch to the summit, starting at midnight. 

“You hike for a good seven to eight hours because you want to arrive at the top at sunrise,” says Bonvicini with excitement. 

She hopes to raise $25,000 for each cause.  A few nerves aside, she can’t wait to return to this beautiful land to achieve a personal and far-reaching goal. 

“I am totally psyched to tackle Kilimanjaro – there’s no doubt about it, yeah,” she says with a smile.

Bonvicini starts the climb on the morning of September 20th.  She’ll be back in Connecticut in early October and News 8 plans to follow her story.

Click here to check out Bonvicini’s GoFundMe page.

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