We were first introduced to Ahmed Jaafar in 2013 when he called us up to see if we could help in his adventurous quest to reinvent himself. See, Ahmed had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s a few years back, and had been slowly coming to terms with what that label meant. How did this affect his identity, his current life as a successful businessman and community leader, his hopes and dreams for the future? After 3 years of contemplating these sorts of questions, Ahmed decided that what this diagnosis really meant was an opportunity to reinvent himself as the adventurer of his boyhood dreams. He heard of Tusker Trail from a friend who’d recently traveled with us and decided we were just the folks to help make this happen. And on January 15th, 2014, Ahmed successfully summited Mount Kilimanjaro with Tusker.
This first milestone on Ahmed’s quest for adventure happened to be Eddie Frank’s 50th Kilimanjaro climb and the two of them became fast friends. Eddie’s mother was in the late stages of Parkinson’s at the time and they quickly formed a bond around the challenges of this disease. Eddie, having lived a life of adventure since birth and Ahmed, living a different sort of adventure and looking to get into Eddie’s brand of it, were the perfect match to help each other cope with how Parkinson’s was influencing their lives.
After that first climb, Ahmed immediately signed up to join Eddie on Tusker’s Mongolia Trek in July 2014. After Mongolia, it was back to Kilimanjaro for his second successful climb in April 2015. Most recently he joined Tusker on their current Iceland Adventure.
On his flight to Iceland, Ahmed passed the time by creating one painting for each of his fellow Iceland adventurers. Ahmed is a talented artist, and painting has been a wonderful means of coping with Parkinson’s disease. Here’s one of those paintings:
Ahmed has successfully reinvented himself into an adventurer and continues to defy Parkinson’s Disease. He refuses to allow the disease to dictate his lifestyle. He is an inspiration to us all.