7 Climbers Tackled Mount Kilimanjaro to Raise Awareness for ALS

Kilimanjaro Graphic_AFTER CLIMB-01Nirali Shah recently returned from the journey of a lifetime, climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

“It was definitely an adventure to say the least a lifetime experience it was more challenging than I had expected,” Nirali said. “Every day was longer than we had thought a bit more grueling.”

Nirali put together an international team to climb the world’s tallest free standing mountain in honor of her mother Sonal Shah, who passed away from ALS. The goal was twofold, to raise awareness for ALS and to raise funds for the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter. Nirali said when the climb got tough she just thought about her mom and everything she went through since her ALS diagnosis.

“It was really all about my mom, I would think about my mom, and all the ALS patients, it was a physical activity and it’s about pushing yourself to your limit. There were times I felt I couldn’t move and I thought if I feel this way how do ALS patients feel everyday dealing with their challenges, because this is nothing in comparison to the fight ALS patients’ face after their diagnosis. It really put things in perspective,” Nirali said.

5 out of the 7 climbers made it to the peak. Nirali came just shy of the top of the mountain when she got sick from the lack of oxygen.

“I got really close to the top I was about 100 meters short, I got really sick and was vomiting and fainting,” Nirali said. “I really thought about my mom at that moment near the top, all I could hear was my mom telling me to listen to my body and not be stupid.”

Nirali said she feels like this climb has made a difference.

“I think it really got people interested. I noticed even if the donations were small a much larger number of people stepping up to donate. People I followed up with were amazing and it unifies people around a cause. It’s just the way of grabbing attention and it’s what we need to create awareness,” Nirali said.

Nirali set a goal to raise $19,341, the height of Mount Kilimanjaro in feet. So far she is at about 60% of that goal but there is still time to donate and help Nirali and the team meet their goal. You can donate by clicking here.

NJ Native Plans to Conquer Mount Kilimanjaro to Conquer ALS

Nirali Shah Conquers Mt Kilimanjaro to Conquer ALS

Nirali Shah has never been one to back down from a challenge, and taking on Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s tallest mountain, is no exception. In honor of her mom, Sonal Shah, who lost her battle to ALS in 2015 Nirali put together an international team to climb to the summit to raise awareness and funds for ALS.

“My mom lived an extraordinary life, she served as a vital ALS advocate by writing a book about her life and experience with ALS called “My Life, Legacy, and ALS”.  She also travelled to Washington DC many times to join ALSA in pushing for federal legislation and funding for research, and now it is my turn to fight and do what I can to bring attention to this devastating disease,” Nirali said.

The goal is to raise $19,341 the exact height of Mount Kilimanjaro in feet. Nirali says the climb will last 7 days and she plans to reach the summit on June 25th. This is no easy task given Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest free standing mountain in the world.

“I’ve been doing a lot of training, but I think a big component of this will be about staying strong mentally throughout the climb,” Nirali said.

Nirali knows her mom will be there in spirit giving her that extra push to make the climb.

“My mom would have loved this. Growing up my parents and I travelled quite a bit and one of the things we always did was go to the national parks and hike there. She always said she wanted to go to Tanzania, but she didn’t make it. So this climb is for her and for all of the people whose lives are cut short by an ALS diagnosis,” Shah said.

You can support Nirali’s Kilimanjaro climb by donating at https://www.crowdrise.com/niralishah5, all proceeds will go to the ALS Association Greater New York Chapter.

PALS Sonal Shah Honored By NJ State Officials

IMG_0988Pictured: Sonal Shah (blanket over shoulders), Sonal Shah’s mother, Saroj Vyas, (behind Sonal), Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz (top left) and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno (top right)

On Wednesday, October 28th,  New Jersey Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno and Assemblywoman Nancy Munoz met with PALS advocate Sonal Shah and presented her with the legislation that was signed by Governor Chris Christie designating May as ALS Awareness Month in NJ.

Read about this legislation here.

New Jersey Passes Law Promoting ALS Awareness

Sonal ShahPictured: PALS Sonal Shah. Photo by Mahvash Saba

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie recently signed a bill into law that designates the third Wednesday in May as “ALS Awareness Day” and May as “ALS Awareness Month” thanks in large part to the efforts of PALS Sonal Shah, an active ALS advocate and author of “My Life, Legacy and ALS,” an autobiographical look at her life as a person living with ALS.

Gov. Christie sent an official letter to Sonal congratulating her for bringing awareness of ALS to the residents of New Jersey. “Your tireless efforts to share your story and participation in many events supporting ALS surely have touched many lives,” he wrote. “You have set an example of selflessness for others to follow, and I applaud your activism for such a worthy cause.” Gov. Christie thanked Sonal for her bravery, compassion and courage.

We are proud of Sonal’s unwavering dedication to the cause of PALS in New Jersey and nationwide through continued activism and advocacy. We also thank Gov. Christie and the New Jersey State legislature for passing this resolution, which will surely help to increase awareness of the many life challenges facing ALS patients locally and beyond.