Father starts trip to spread son's ashes on Kilimanjaro
Two parents tied together by tragedy are honouring their lost children with a hike up Mount Kilimanjaro.
Angelo Garcia and his son Misha had been wanting to climb the African mountain for the younger man’s 18th birthday, starting to plan when he was 16.
Before they could get much farther, Misha was diagnosed with brain cancer.
He spent two months at Roger’s House, a place for children with life-limiting injuries, before he died at age 19.
“Before he passed, he asked that his ashes be brought up to Kilimanjaro,” Angelo said.
While grieving his son’s loss at Roger’s House, Garcia met Sophie Rosa, herself living without a son named Simon who drowned at age 7 during a school outing.
Ironically, she too had been planning a trip up Kilimanjaro.
“When Angelo told me he had to scatter the ashes of his son at the top of Kilimanjaro, sparks flew,” Rosa said.
“I knew right then and there that’s what I was going to do and we committed that evening to do it.”
The pair had recruited eight other people before 48 hours had passed, made up of Roger’s House volunteers and other parents.
They teamed up with the Ottawa Senators and raised $40,000 for Roger’s House before leaving Friday for the Tanzanian peak, promising to keep updating their website.
Once they reach the top Oct. 14, they said they’re going to plant a Senators flag, place some of Simon’s rocks and spread Misha’s ashes 5,895 metres above sea level.
“I think (Simon’s) going to be whispering in my ear all the way up,” said Rosa before she left.
“(Misha) would think it’s great, he’d be gung ho about it,” Garcia said. “I know he’s smiling wherever he is.”
With a report from CTV Ottawa’s Joanne Schnurr