Santa Rosa resident André Kaljich is heading to South America on February 6 to complete the unimaginable feat of traveling unaided from the lowest point on the continent to the highest summit. And he's doing it without the use of legs. Starting at Laguana Del Carbon, André, an ultra-endurance pioneer and a double amputee who lost both legs in a train accident at the age of 23, will bike 2,000 miles across the vast openness and unforgiving terrain of Southern Patagonia on a handcycle before summiting 22,841' up Aconcagua, the highest mountain in the Southern Hemisphere.
André will be accompanied by friends and fellow disabled ultra-endurance athletes Lucas Onan and Mohamed Lahna. The group is using their expedition to raise money for The Challenged Athletes Foundation, a non-profit organization that has provided over 20 million disabled Americans of all ages with the necessary support to pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics. The three athletes will be accompanied by friend/videographer Bryan Nelson, but will otherwise be unaided, relying on their own abilities and the support and guidance from followers on social media if needed.
Beyond using their athletic abilities to fundraise for a worthwhile cause, the athletes have another message to relay: "At the root of this adventure is something borne out of our darkest moments when we were left with one thing to control, a single decision: choosing an attitude that will be most productive," says André Kaljich. "It's what has brought us this far and it is the key to making anything possible." And what an inspirational journey it is.
To follow this unbelievable expedition, check out www.lowesthighest.com and follow @lowesthighest on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. André will be sharing his journey, tips for training, live streaming, and hosting Q&As over social media throughout the trip. (Note: website and social channels will go live 2/3/20). This trip is made possible through support and sponsorships from The Challenged Athlete Foundation, Specialized Bikes, CannaCraft, Inc (note: André is employed at CannaCraft in Santa Rosa), SRAM Performance Bikes, tech equipment courtesy of Apple, and of course the sheer determination and commitment from the athletes to share what they've learned from their respective journeys overcoming adversity.
After a train accident in 2003 that resulted in both legs being amputated above the knee, 23-year old André Kaljich rehabbed his mind and body before returning stronger and more determined than ever to live a full and active life to show others that they are capable of more than they know.
In 2010, just seven years after the accident, André became an ultra-endurance pioneer, a Team USA Paratriethlete, an Ironman World Champion, and the only wheelchair athlete to finish an Ultraman Triathlon (he's done four). André also handcycled 3,100 miles in 12 days across the continental US for Race Across America, and completed the Brazil135 Ultra Marathon, a 135 mile trek through jungle terrain, in a wheelchair; at times pulling the wheelchair behind him as he crawled through the jungle. Ask him about it and you're likely to get a flash of his million-dollar smile and an enthusiastic response about how much he "loves this stuff"!
In fact, André loves it so much, he has spent years planning and training for the next big thing. And the big thing on André's plate for the last few years has been the Lowest Highest, a commitment André made to himself to journey from the lowest point to the highest point on all 7 continents. After years of intensive training, Andre will begin the first trek of the challenge next month in South America. André Kajlich moved to Santa Rosa from Seattle in 2018 after accepting a role in the marketing department at CannaCraft, Inc. André has used CannaCraft's Care By Design CBD products to help with recovery and in lieu of prescription medications for years and joined the company to help educate the world on the effectiveness of cannabis and CBD specifically.
For additional information about the journey across South America or if you’d like to speak to André directly please let me know and I will be happy to make the introduction.
Kial Long 707.322.8704