From Columbia Pt. to the top of Africa: Reporter's own Jack Conboy summits Mt. Kilimanjaro

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By Martine Louis
Sep. 19, 2007

After a 5-day hike up one of the worlds tallest mountains -Mount Kilimanjaro - Jack Conboy, 28, is back home.

Conboy, marketing manager for the Reporter Newspapers, says he has always loved the wilderness and wanted to climb a glacier, but what made him set off for Tanzania this month was the opportunity to support a positive cause.

Conboy says he was inspired by Boston Police Captain Frank Armstrong, who successfully summited Mount Kilimanjaro this summer along with his sons Fran, 15, and John, 13, --in memory of the late John V. Dow, founder of the Boston-based charity Cops For Kids With Cancer.

John Dow, a retired Boston Police captain and Dorchester native who was a cancer survivor, founded the Cops for Kids group in 2001. His courageous fight against cancer inspired fellow officers and together they took part in fundraisers and golf tournaments to raise money specifically for children battling the fatal disease.

Dow passed away from cancer in February 2007. In an effort to continue Dow's work with Cops For Kids With Cancer fellow Boston police officers and advocates pledged $1 for every 1000 feet of elevation upon the completion of the nearly 20,000 foot hike.

"I knew and respected John Dow," said Conboy. "I was impressed by his compassion towards others and always wanting to help those in need."

Despite difficult conditions such as extremely low temperatures and an "unusually" large amount of volcanic sulfur in the air, Jack Conboy and a traveling companion was one of the eight people (out of a 31 person camp) to successfully summit Mount Kilimanjaro at 5:45a.m. on Sept. 11, 2007. "It was a difficult journey," said Conboy. "A majority of the climbers fell ill and showed too many signs of altitude sickness to continue. But it was definitely worth it knowing that I would be contributing to a cause that helps so many people who need it. And every little bit helps. I was definitely happy to do it."

Before leaving Africa, Conboy's generosity continued as he gave away all his gear and even clothing to less fortunate men, women, and children.

"It is such a beautiful country, but it is so poverty stricken," said Conboy. "Those people have nothing. They were living in arctic weather wearing shorts. It's sad and definitely makes you want to jump into action and do something to help."

Conboy is currently working with friends to put together packages containing food and clothing to send to Africa. Donations can be sent to: Cops For Kids With Cancer, P.O. Box 850956, Braintree, MA 02185.