Updated: May 23
You know that feeling when you meet someone for the first time and you instantly know you'd love to spend more time with them? Their energy draws you in and you think, "Gosh, I'd love to be friends with you!"
That’s precisely how I felt when I met Anna.
At the time (January 2017) Anna was stationed at a military base just outside of Kabul, where she was tasked with mentoring and training female officers joining the Afghan National Army. She had reached out to Ascend because she thought it would be wonderful to have our two sets of Afghan women, all pushing cultural boundaries (ours though mountain climbing and hers by becoming military officers), meet and exchange stories, experiences, and ideas.
We did, and it was a powerful experience for both sides.
What struck me about Anna, though, wasn’t just her creative idea and her stunning smile amidst the January Kabul gloom, it was the energy that surrounded her.
Without knowing a whole lot about her, it was clear to me that she was someone that made things happen, and did it in a way that uplifted others.
Fast forward to the present, and I realize that my instinct about Anna was spot-on.
As I’ve learned more about her, I’ve learned that she is a badass (she used to train with Royal Marines in cold weather survival!) and she’s an incredibly generous human, who often pairs those two qualities together:
- She teaches adaptive skiing skills to disabled/injured veterans in her free time
- She volunteers with Team Rubicon doing relief work after natural disasters
- She completed the Marathon de Sables (a 150 mile/250km foot race across Morocco!) and did it to raise money for struggling service members and their families.
Now she is going to ROW across the Pacific Ocean- from California to Hawaii - this summer! And, she’s doing it to support Ascend!
We’ll keep you updated on how her rowing adventure goes, and until then (June 2!) we’d love it if you could support her with kind words, encouragement, and donations.
She has an incredible event coming up in Exeter, England on April 25th (event info here), and a fundraising page you can check out (find it here)!
Also, if you live in the U.S. and have any leads on inexpensive lodging in Monterey, CA or Honolulu, HI for before/after her race - send me an emailwith your ideas.