Local family climbs Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for charity

Proceeds go to 'Me Strong' organization


After eight days of hiking up Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa,12 family members as young as 10 years old made it to the summit. Each step raised money for a good cause.

"It was such a wonderful feeling of accomplishment that we were able to do it," Tracie Branzsaid.

Members of the Branz family tells us they've been planning this trip for a year and turned it into a charity climb for "Me Strong,", a local nonprofit that helps people diagnosed with cancer in Central Florida.

"The idea just came (to us that) if we can just get 19,000 (people) to each donate one dollar, which is one dollar for every foot of the mountain (from sea level to the peak), we can do something good," Matt Branz said.

Branz says it wasn't an easy hike; everyone at some point experienced moments of altitude sickness.

"Me and my brother were pretty sick. It was not easy to adjust, it was bad, brutal,"Luke Branz said.

With doubt along the way, they say their guide service always kept their spirits up.

Branz tells us it wasn't until they took the picture at the summit, holding up "ME STRONG" signs that everything fell into place.

"I definitely cried like a baby when iI got to the top, because dealing with everything we dealt with and altitude sickness, it was very emotional," Tracie said.

"I mean you're tired and you just want to be done, it was kinda a motivating factor, just take a couple more steps," Matt added.