16 FOCUS - JUNE 2018 Kim’s Climb was an idea whose time had come. “You rethink your priorities at this time of life,” 55-year old Scugog resi- dent, Leonard Allen begins thought- fully. “I realized it was time to give back and be part of the solution.” Leonard certainly felt an emotional stake in his chosen cause. In the early 1990s, his sister Kim died tragically, well before her time. “Officially, they ruled it ‘Sudden Unexpected Death from Epilepsy,’” he explains. “She’d been diagnosed and took medication. Maybe she missed a dosage or maybe that dosage was in- sufficient…we’ll never know. But she suffered a massive seizure and died.” Leonard is spearheading “Kim’s Climb” to raise funds for epilepsy research. The initiative will be no simple hike through the woods. “This August, our team will climb Mount Kilimanjaro in support of Epilepsy Canada,” he reveals. The Kilimanjaro idea, Leonard says, had its genesis as he discussed possibilities with his friend, Dereck Paul. “We wanted something substantial, something which would inspire peo- ple’s imaginations when they heard about it. When the Kilimanjaro idea emerged, it was a magical moment… we knew it was the right thing.” Among the now-assembled team’s 16climbers,onlyoneotherhadknown Kim Allen personally. The rest sup- ported the cause of epilepsy research. But in spite of this passion, signing on to participate was not a decision taken lightly in light of the test ahead. “We’ve booked an experienced, reputable company to guide us up the mountain,” he says. “But still there are Leonard Takes His Cause to New Heights Early 80s photo. Four-legged Ofelia getting lots of attention from Leonard and Kim. Kim was gentle, generous and full of life! Shown here yucking it up with Leonard. “SUDEP took my sister Kim suddenly at the age of 24. It left a hole in our family and a mark that endures, all these years later.”