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Monday, May 23, 2011
Bruschi recounts inspirational Kili climb

By Tim Graham

Tedy Bruschi scaled Mount Kilimanjaro last week and has returned to sea level.

The ESPN analyst and former New England Patriots linebacker made the climb along with former Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, retired tight end Chad Lewis and four injured military veterans to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Bruschi chronicled the admirable excursion and posted a summary of his experience Monday at ESPNBoston.com.

Bruschi writes in vivid, often wrenching detail about the inspirational moments of the trip.

The final climb to the summit was bittersweet. Marine veteran and amputee Ben Lunak was beset with excruciating pain and had to turn back early. In the main photo of Bruschi's story, you can see him holding Lunak's prosthetic leg.

Nancy Schiliro, a Marine who lost her right eye in Iraq, had to plumb the depths of her spirit and begrudgingly accept help from her mates to overcome frozen toes. Bruschi and Fisher changed her socks.

Bruschi wrote:
This is when I had my moment. I think being on my hands and knees had intensified my already pounding headache, and I needed assistance. I had been carrying Ben Lunak's prosthetic leg for the past day and a half up the mountain. We all wanted Ben to be represented up there and that's what he chose to represent him at the summit. I looked to Chad Lewis and said, "Chad, I need some help. Can you help me lighten my load and carry Ben's leg to the top?" Chad, my new kaka (which means "brother" in Swahili), didn't even hesitate and began to carry Ben's leg the rest of the way.

Bruschi's account is motivational, the kind of piece that in the end makes you ask yourself "What have I done with myself lately?"