A graduate student faced with travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic climbed all 58 peaks of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains to raise more than $85,000 for an emergency coronavirus relief fund.
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Brittney Woodrum, a 27-year-old student working toward her master’s degree in humanitarian assistance at the University of Denver, had to put her globetrotting plans on hold during the pandemic but decided to set out on a more local adventure to benefit the charity.
Woodrum partnered with ShelterBox, an international disaster relief charity that provides emergency shelter and aid to families around the world who lost their homes to disaster or conflict.
She committed to climbing Colorado’s 58 “Fourteeners,” considered one of the most challenging mountain ranges in North America, made up of peaks towering 14,000-feet or higher.
It took her from July 10 until Sept. 26 to complete her trek. Collecting money from friends, family, and sponsors around the world, Woodrum said she raised more than $85,000 for ShelterBox’s COVID-19 emergency relief fund. She photographed herself on top of the peaks with the charity’s signature turquoise box, which carried the shelter and aid supplies distributed to those in need.
“I was really scared to do it,” Woodrum told the Aspen Times, describing how she started her hike to Capitol Peak the same time the Grizzly Creek wildfire was burning in the area. “But then I got up there, and this was something I found on every single mountain I did, it’s just about embracing the trudge. It’s more of a mental than a physical game. Get yourself to put one foot in front of another and you’re eventually going to make it.”
Woodrum, who completed her undergraduate degree in nonprofit administration and Spanish in 2015 at the University of Kentucky, said she finds joy in serving others and wanted to find a way to help those financially struggling during the economic downturn seen this year.
“I feel very service-oriented in general. I know that’s what I want to dedicate my life to. I feel very privileged with everything I have ever had in my life,” Woodrum said. “The best thing I can do with my life is pay some of that forward and help others who by no fault of their own have had the worst day or year of their life.”