Canadian plans to summit Kilimanjaro to honour his late wife

Photo by Volodymyr Burdiak/

Shannon McNeil died at the age of 30 after a two year battle with cancer. Now, her husband plans to keep her dreams alive by climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

“It was closer to the end for Shannon. We were in [Alberta’s] Tom Baker Cancer Centre and I knew she was stuck in bed there for the remainder of her days and we played a little game: ‘If you could get up and do something, what would you do?'” Dan McNeil told the CBC.

Shannon told her husband that she’d like to go for a walk, eat at a nice restaurant, spend time on a beach in Hawaii, and climb the tallest mountain in Africa.

A year after her death, McNeil has decided to summit the peak in memory of his wife.

Shannon and Dan McNeil

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“It will be quite the adventure, for sure. It’s all something very new to me. It’s something that I can continue contact with her I guess, you know? It’s not on any spiritual level, just inside of me, it will be something we can still do together.”

McNeil will be raising money for cancer research in what he’s calling the Summit for Shannon. He set a goal to raise $10,000 and has already raised over $8000. Some of the people who donated read about Shannon on the blog the couple started when she became sick. Originally intended to keep their family in Nova Scotia updated while they were in Alberta, the blog has attracted a lot of attention.

“We’ve had messages from people across the world — people Shannon has touched on different levels and people that we’ve never met before … read it and were inspired.”

McNeil plans to leave on December 16 for Tanzania. He told the CBC that he won’t be doing it alone.

“She’ll be with me, for sure. It’s something we’re doing together.”