On December 23rd, Ryan Baki ’22 will start a journey to hike to the peak of Tanzania’s Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest freestanding mountain in the world.
But he isn’t doing it just for the experience. As a member of the Operation Smile club at the Upper School and an experienced mountaineer, for Ryan, it’s the linchpin of his efforts to raise money for Operation Smile, a global charity that benefits people in third-world countries.
“When we reviewed the ninth-grade curriculum,” said Dr. Fayez Baki – Ryan’s father – in a recent Lehigh Valley Marketplace article about the trip, “we agreed we should support a charity. Ryan wants to be a dentist, and when he learned about Operation Smile, he decided to use the trip to raise money for it.”
Ryan has set a lofty goal for his fundraising work. “Originally, I hoped to raise $5,900,” he said. “That’s the elevation of the mountain above sea level in meters.”
However, as of mid-October, Ryan has already far exceeded this goal. Thus his new fundraising goal is $19,341, the height of the mountain in feet.
Said Ryan, “I think I can hit that if I work hard enough.”
Fayez is quick to point out that he is underwriting the cost of their excursion himself. “We have also covered the costs of fundraising,” he added. “It’s important for people to understand that every dollar Ryan raises will go directly to Operation Smile; none of those funds will be spent on our trip.”
Read the full article about Ryan’s upcoming adventure on Lehigh Valley Marketplace‘s website here.