UW alum treks Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the UW Autism Center
- W. Tracy Codd, ‘83, ‘87, organized a climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for the UW Autism Center. The fundraising trek was deeply personal; his son Stuart has autism.
- Tracy and his crew slogged up the highest peak in Africa, battling extreme heat and cold. “Climbing a mountain is something you can accomplish in a short time with determination, whereas living with autism is a tremendous, lifelong struggle,” Tracy says.
- Tracy raised $50,000 for the Autism Center. His donation will cover little things like parking and lodging for visiting families, easing the burden for those already facing stressful situations.
- Tracy made sure the local porters got into the Husky spirit, too. He handed each one a UW cap and the crew fashioned them all along the craggy route.
- A photobombing Coug wanted to show his Palouse pride at Tracy’s summit celebration. After eight days, Tracy and his Husky-clad crew triumphed at the top – all 19,341 feet.
W. Tracy Codd, ’83, ’87, knows a thing or two about overcoming colossal challenges. A lawyer by trade, Tracy tests his physical and mental limits by climbing mountains. But when he went to Mt. Kilimanjaro, he added a new, personal challenge to the trek: he wanted to raise money for the UW Autism Center in part to honor his son and nephew, who have both been diagnosed with autism.
“Climbing a mountain is something you can accomplish in a short time with determination, whereas living with autism is a tremendous, lifelong struggle,” says Tracy.
In January, Tracy took on the highest mountain in Africa. In true UW spirit, Tracy’s group of three hikers and their team of porters donned UW caps, trekking through extreme heat and cold. When they reached the summit, they hoisted a UW flag in triumph – Husky pride was high in the sky.
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“It was the trip of a lifetime,” Tracy says. “I’m just happy it was for such a good cause.”
Tracy’s effort raised $50,000 for the Autism Center, a UW program that helps families who have a child diagnosed with the disorder. The center provides clinical care and training for families to better manage their child’s diagnosis.
“It’s the little things, such as paying for parking and finding lodging, that put stress on families who are already in a stressful situation,” says Jim Boyle, senior director of philanthropy at UW Medicine. “The funds Tracy raised will help ease that burden.”
While he doesn’t have plans arranged for another climb just yet, Tracy wouldn’t rule it out. He wants to continue supporting autism research so that someday a cure will be discovered.
“Spending time with both my son and nephew led me to look at different ways to make this experience about something bigger than myself,” Tracy says. “Hopefully my effort, in a small way, will help aid in the understanding of autism.”