Two Cleveland Clinic doctors and their sons climb Mount Kilimanjaro

24-year-old is legally blind

CLEVELAND - Fathers and sons can bond all sorts of ways. For some, it's over sports, for others it politics or fishing or perhaps a love of cars. 

Two Cleveland Clinic doctors and their sons took bonding to new heights.

Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro is a big deal. Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro blind is an incredibly big deal. 

"You can't let fear run your life. It was an opportunity to let fear take a backseat," said Glen Stevens, a neuro-oncologist at the Cleveland Clinic.

Dr. Stevens climbed the towering mountain with his 24-year-old son, Ryan.

Ryan is legally blind. He was born that way.

"What the climb did for me is I always worry about my son, but I will worry about him less," Stevens said.

Last fall, Dr. Stevens approached his friend, Dr. Alan Taege, the Director of HIV Care at the Cleveland Clinic, about joining them in tackling the highest mountain in Africa. Kilimanjaro stands more than 19,000 feet tall. 

"He said, ‘Mount Kilimanjaro.' I said, ‘Are you out of your mind?' He said, ‘No, let's give it a try.' So that was the beginning of what we thought of the beginning of a wonderful little jaunt,"  Dr. Taege said.

The two doctors and their sons, both St. Ignatius grads, spent eight days on the mountain. The trip was meant for climbing, but really, it was about bonding. 

"I think our sons had one of the greatest experiences of their lives. They just loved to listen to stories of when we were younger, things that we had done. I think they just loved it," Dr. Stevens said.

They certainly loved reaching the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. 

"It's kind of a surreal experience. You're on the roof of Africa, you're looking out and you're going, it's hard to believe I'm here," said Dr. Stevens.

They were only able to spend about 20 minutes on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro because it was so cold.

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