Diagnosed with an extremely rare condition called sclerocornea at just three years old, Lisa McEwan has been legally blind her whole life, but that has never stopped her from taking on challenges.

When she found out she had been awarded the Guide Dogs Experience 2020 bursary and was off to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, she couldn’t contain her excitement.

“I was lost for words for a minute and then I think I screamed. My two young daughters came running out and said ‘what’s wrong mummy?’” Lisa joked.

Lisa’s daughters, aged 7 and 10, are the main reason behind her decision to take on the climb of a lifetime.

“I want to encourage my two young daughters to have courage and pursue their dreams in whatever form they take. I want to encourage their resilience and show them that that you shouldn’t be defined by the expectations of others,” she said.

Lisa will tackle Mount Kilimanjaro in September 2020 as part of a group of Guide Dogs Queensland clients and supporters who are aiming to raise $100,000 to cover the costs of breeding, raising and training two Guide Dogs.

Motivated, positive and determined, Lisa is no stranger to travel and adventure, so the climb itself is perhaps the least daunting part.

“I was very fortunate to grow up with a family who didn’t wrap me in cotton wool. In 2003, I bought a Lonely Planet guide, grabbed my backpack and travelled solo for a while,” Lisa said.

“But this trip is different. As a busy mum this will be the longest I’ve ever been away from my family, which will be a big challenge, but one that is worth it.”

Lisa’s family will miss her while she’s away but are supporting her the whole way.

“My seven-year-old told me that she is going to go to school and write a story about mum climbing Kilimanjaro,” Lisa said.

While she hopes to inspire her daughters, the challenge is also incredibly personal.

“It’s a chance for me to reboot and reflect on where I’m at and where I’m going. It’s about the whole journey and the transformation of the process – both physically and mentally.”

Lisa already has the right attitude that will help her overcome any challenge in her way – even the world’s tallest free-standing mountain.

“My sight may be limited, but my vision is huge,” she said.

“I perceive the world as full of possibility. I see challenges as opportunities to grow and learn.”

If you want to join Lisa on the adventure of a lifetime, she has a few words for you.

“Have the courage to chase your dreams. You may not convert every try (so to speak), but you’re sure to experience growth, learning and some laughs along the way. That’s half the adventure!”

To support Lisa’s incredible Mt Kilimanjaro climb you can click here to make a donation.

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