The road to… .

21 surgeries

“I was born with hip dysplasia but no-one knew. Since the age of 15 I started to feel pain and it increased year by year. Eventually at the age of 30 I couldn’t walk 200m without having pain. I started to use crutches when I had to leave the house. I couldn’t stand on my feet for hours.

Luckily I met this fantastic doctor who immediately knew what was wrong. There are only a few surgeons in the world who could help, without giving me a hip prosthesis at a young age. So my doctor sent me to a surgeon who could help.

When doctors told me about the surgeries I had to undergo, they said there was a risk I could end up with some nerve damage. That could lead to muscle loss that would prevent me from lifting my leg. So I instantly decided I would climb the Ventoux before surgery.

I knew I had a long way to go because, these surgeries break your pelvis in three and it has to grow back, before you can leave your bed and try to walk. I had to undergo that surgery twice (left and right side).”

First attempt.

In 2012, I decided to climb the Mont Ventoux. I always dreamed of doing it, but due to the risk of the surgeries I had to undergo, I wasn’t sure I could make that dream come true in the future. So I just decided to go for it before surgeries. It was  an emotional and intense adventure and I knew I would come back if my surgeries allowed me to. So during rehab I had only one goal and that was the Ventoux. Everyone thought I was crazy, even my physio.

And that’s when Koen comes into this story.

Second attempt

In 2017 I felt strong enough to do it again. I did end up with some nerve damage from surgeries. Some muscles do not work anymore. When I cycle I have a strong and a weak leg and when I climb, I push myself up with one leg.

So I started to train again to climb one side of the Ventoux and I asked Koen if it would be ok to let people sponsor me for Project Kakuma.

Klimmen Voor Kakuma was born.

The best view comes after the hardest climb.

Third attempt

In June 2019, I climbed the Mount Ventoux twice during a 131km ride, also raising more funds for Project Kakuma. This time is was a little different. I had a cycling accident – where I broke my arm – 2 weeks before the climb. But I did climb that mountain and finished the race.

Written by Kirsten Thompson

Sponsor our trip and support #ProjectKakuma.