In January 2007, Anna Curry stunned friends and family when she announced her intentions to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest freestanding mountain.
Curry has osteogenesis imperfecta, or brittle bone disease, a genetic disorder characterized by fragile bones. She estimates that she has broken around 200 bones in her lifetime, and has endured surgeries too numerous to count. Her small, 4-foot-5 stature is a condition of the disease.
Having used crutches most of her life, she had reached a point of walking independently until two major surgeries in 2006 set her back, and she was wheelchair-bound. “I set this climb as a goal to help get me through physical therapy and start walking independently again,” says Curry, a labor and employment law attorney in Birmingham, Ala. She also used the climb to raise awareness about the disease and money for the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation, for which she serves on its national board.
After nearly three years of recovery and training, Curry—joined by her father, Ashley, and her friend Dr. David Arehart, BS’91—departed Birmingham for Africa on Sept. 23, 2009. The Birmingham News reported on the event, and family members posted daily blog updates. On Oct. 4—one day earlier than expected—they safely reached the mountain’s summit.
“The way I see it,” she says, “I have a limited window of independent mobility, so I wanted to do something extraordinary while I could.” Read more here.
© 2014 Vanderbilt University | Photography: Courtesy of Anna Curry
Conversation guidelines: Vanderbilt Magazine welcomes your thoughts, stories and information related to this article. Please stay on topic and be respectful of others. Keep the conversation appropriate for interested readers across the map.