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Climbing for a Cause

Ten-year-old Luke Mortimer climbed a mountain to raise money for children with disabilities.

Luke Mortimer stands on a hiking trail and poses for the camera as several adults in hiking clothes can be seen behind him.

Courtesy of Adam Mortimer

Luke Mortimer during his climb up a peak called Embsay Crag, on November 4, 2023.

When he was 7 years old, Luke Mortimer lost his arms and legs after an infection. Three years later, he climbed a mountain near his home to help other children with disabilities.

Luke, who lives in the United Kingdom, set his sights on the 656-foot (200-meter) peak called Embsay Crag in 2019, when his family moved into a home nearby.

“When we moved here, we were going down the road to Embsay, and I just saw the crag, and I said, ‘Mum, dad, one day can we climb it?’” Luke said before his 2023 climb. “It’s been a few years now, but I feel very determined about getting to the top and back down. I think the worst thing that can happen is probably rain.”

The climb wasn’t just a personal challenge. Luke set it up as a fundraiser—a way to help others after so many people helped him. The Mortimer family had received many donations to pay for Luke’s prosthetics, or artificial limbs, as well as for changes to the Mortimer home that help Luke get around more easily. So, Luke thought, why not use the climb to raise money for other kids with disabilities?

Luke Mortimer walks between two adults as he leads a group of hikers along a trail.

Courtesy of Adam Mortimer

Many people joined Luke when he climbed Embsay Crag.

The Mortimer family announced that anyone could join them on their climb. Forty people traveled from across the U.K. to take part. And while Luke had hoped to raise 500 British pounds (about 613 U.S. dollars), he ended up raising more than 12,000 pounds (nearly 15,000 U.S. dollars)!

“It was tiring and tough, but when I got to the top I was very proud of myself. Everybody was really kind for coming out to support me,” Luke told Metro.

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Did You Know?

A peak rises above a grassy area behind a body of water.

© Grahammoore999/Dreamstime.com

The word crag means “steep rugged rock or cliff.” Luke Mortimer climbed Embsay Crag, seen here.

That’s a Lot of Medals!

Trischa Zorn does the backstroke in a pool as 41 gold medals and some silver and bronze medals appear in the background one by one.

Aris Messinis—AFP/Getty Images, © Grondin Franck Olivier/Dreamstime.com; Animation Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

The Paralympic Games is an international sports competition for people with disabilities. The Paralympics take place right after the Olympics Games, in the same host city. 

The most successful athlete in the history of the Paralympics is swimmer Trischa Zorn, who has won 55 medals, including 41 gold medals. Zorn was born with an eye condition that left her blind. She last competed in the Paralympics in 2004 and works as an attorney (lawyer) today.

The Paralympic Games

© Andre Ricardo Paes, David Webb, Celso Pupo Rodrigues, Marco Coccolella/Dreamstime.com; Photo composite Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.

You can learn more about the Paralympics at Britannica!

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Word of the Day

endeavor

Part of speech:

noun

Definition:

: a serious effort or attempt

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