My name is Phil Berenz and I am one of the Co-Founders of Climb for Cerebral Palsy(

Climb for Cerebral Palsy is a charity climb that will take place on February 9th. Three of my friends and me will be climbing the highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kilimanjaro in an effort to raise $30,000 for a local Boston non-profit; United Cerebral Palsy of MetroBoston. United Cerebral Palsy of MetroBoston is a non-profit that provides services to people with cerebral palsy and similar disabilities that allow them to live a healthier and more independent life.

I know firsthand how it feels to live a life with a physical disability. I was born two and half months premature and due to complications at birth I suffered hypoxia. It wasn’t until I was eighteen months old that I was diagnosed with cerebral palsy. My cerebral palsy affects the right side of my body, mainly my right leg. If I summit Mount Kilimanjaro I will be the third person with cerebral palsy to climb Mount Kilimanjaro unassisted. This cause is important to me because if I did not receive services as a kid, similar to the services that UCP of MetroBoston provides, I wouldn’t physically be able to hike Mount Kilimanjaro.

If you have any questions - ask away!!


Fox25 News Interview - Boston Metro Article -

Comments: 98 • Responses: 38  • Date: 

Aregular8921 karma

That's pretty cerebral ballsy of you

pberenz12 karma

Love it

Aregular895 karma

Good luck!

pberenz6 karma

Thank you!

Btotherest5 karma

Do you feel like cerebral palsy is misunderstood by a majority of people? Also, good luck man!

pberenz14 karma

I think the public has a limited awareness and understanding of cerebral palsy which causes it to be somewhat misunderstood. It is a condition that primarily affects body movement. I think people see it more as a condition that affects intellectual function. One thing I think people do understand is that "its the sexiest of palsies"

ignoramus0125 karma

As a man with CP who got laid last weekend, I can confirm, it's a pretty sexy palsy.

Spastic diplegia, here. Also born three months premature. Palsy bump?

pberenz4 karma

Awesome post!!!

pberenz7 karma

Also thanks man, I am pumped to tackle the challenge ahead of me!

wojwilk4 karma

Good luck bud! My brother has CP. rock on and do your thing

pberenz5 karma

Thank you!

gippered4 karma

Just finished climbing Kili this morning! Best of luck to you.

pberenz2 karma

Thank you! How was it? Did you summit?

gippered2 karma

Yes, on Thursday. Very difficult, but very rewarding. We did the Lemosho route ascending and the Mweka route descending.

My absolute biggest advice is drink way more water than you think you need. Drink lots and lots of water.

pberenz2 karma

One last question - was there snow at the summit?

d-nj3 karma

How will you feel if you die on Mt. Kilimanjaro? I often think that causes like this could generate more donations and awareness if they just hold a rally downtown, rather than someone trying to prove something to themselves by climbing a mountain.

pberenz6 karma

I don't think I will feel anything if I die on Mt Kilimanjaro = )

I have done a lot of research and have been training hard so I am not worried about dieing. We will also have a guide so there is a low chance of getting lost on the mountain. Mount Kilimanjaro is far from being Mount Everest. Anyway, death can happen at any moment, I could get hit by a car walking across the street so I tend not to worry about death.

headshox2 karma

How do you train for a climb on Kilimanjaro and how did you get into mountain climbing?

pberenz6 karma

Three years ago I went on a hike with my friend. We climbed Mount Marcy in New York. We had to stop midway through because my body failed me and it was a rude awakening. After that I took it as a personal challenge and started hiking more. A year later my friend and I tried Mount Marcy again with success! Since then I have been hooked. There is nothing more gratifying than summiting a mountain.

Right now I just do a lot of hiking, stretching, and strength training in the gym. A few months back my team and I climbed a 14,000 foot mountain in Colorado to test our bodies at high altitude. That was super tough.

B2BWorldWarChamps3 karma

No question - just wanted to say thanks for being what every person on this earth should aspire to be.

Good luck on your climb!

pberenz3 karma

Thank you!

headshox3 karma

How much does CB affect your day to day living?

pberenz8 karma

I have a fairly mild case of cerebral palsy so it primarily causes me to limp when I walk and have poor balance. There is a wide spectrum of how CP affects individuals. It is when I do more physically exerting activities that I really notice the affect my CP has on my body.

Mr_Neckbeard2 karma

does your right arm have full use?

pberenz5 karma

Good question. Yeah only when I am doing something like brushing my teeth does my right arm tense up and start to turn inward. Really weird, never had it explained to me why it only happens when doing something like brushing my teeth.

Madremae3 karma

Will the climb be more difficult for you?

pberenz7 karma

Absolutely, my right leg is fairly weak and atrophied so that leg tires quickly and then other parts of my body tend to overcompensate which leads to higher risk for injury. My balance is horrendous so I really need my trekking poles to maneuver through rocky sections.

bigollurch2 karma

Are you planning on doing any awareness activities in africa? Sometimes conditions like yours can be misunderstood and mistreated there simply due to misinformation. You could be a big inspiration for some people

pberenz2 karma

Thats a great idea! I haven't thought about raising awareness for people in Africa. I have been focused more on helping people in my local community. Climb for Cerebral Palsy is something I do plan to continue after the climb

probablyhappened2 karma

I just got back two days ago from doing it. As a reasonably healthy young male it was tough. I can't imagine what you are about to go through. Best of luck to you. The view from the top is pretty spectacular and I imagine even better through the eyes of someone doing it for such a good reason.

pberenz1 karma

Do you have any tips and tricks? Anything you suggest?

newes1 karma

Don't look up on summit night. If you bring granola or some other kind of bar with you for summit night, break it into small pieces before you start up. If you are using a camel pack on summit night, blow the water back through the tube after you drink from it.

pberenz2 karma

Could you explain the theory behind the camel pack and blowing the water back through the tube?

Shmarlolz2 karma

I have mild cerebral palsy, too. I wish you luck on your endeavor. Do you have a specific climbing style to minimize fatigue, or did you just train rigorously to build up endurance. I once went hiking in the Smokey Mountains and it exhausted me. When I become over-exhausted, once I sit down, my legs literally turn off and I'm paralyzed for several hours. I cannot imagine climbing Mount Killimanjaro.

pberenz4 karma

I think thoroughly stretching before and after any physical activity really helps. I also have a specific brace that helps use my thighs muscles and provides relief to my calf muscles. I do a lot of day hikes. As you can imagine, the big challenge will be hiking 7 days in a row. That is my biggest fear, I hope my muscles can recover enough everyday to minimize how painful it will be.

Also the Smokey Mountains rock!!! Did you go to Clingman's dome?

Shmarlolz1 karma

No, I did not. My group was a just a bunch of college students lead by a hiking/rock-climbing fanatic. After the hike, I didn't want to do anything, not even eat.

pberenz2 karma

Yeah I feel the same way after a long hike. You get so exhausted the only thing you want to do is sleep.

Ruled_by_Kush2 karma

Good luck dude. Always great to see people not settling with the hand that they were dealt. You are an inspiration to us all. Enjoy the view from the top.

pberenz1 karma

Thank you!

LizzyLovesLancer2 karma

no questions just want to wish you and your friends luck.... GOOD LUCK!!!

pberenz1 karma

Thank you!

liajet242 karma

Good luck climbing it! I attempted the climb when I was 15 and my body gave out on the last stretch to the peak. I sure hope you can finish that climb!

pberenz2 karma

Thank you!

Quteness2 karma

Serious questions: Will get the money to donate if you don't summit? If that's the case, do you feel any anxiety about not submitting and letting people down?

In the case that you don't summit and still get the money then do you believe that you're climb is mainly a show of what people with CP can really do and the money is just a secondary gift?

Best of luck with your climb!

pberenz5 karma

We have raised over $10,000 so far for United Cerebral Palsy of MetroBoston which I am really proud of. Especially since we don't have any previous fundraising experience. All of the money has gone directly to UCP so we don't touch it. We started an Indiegogo campaign to offer perks to people who contribute and that is a little more tricky.

My philosophy on the whole thing is that if I inspire one other person with cerebral palsy to go out and push their limits then no matter the outcome of the climb, this whole endeavor has been a success.

cTrillz1 karma


pberenz1 karma

I have. Classic movie! I should watch that again.

ScenesfromaCat1 karma

Do you think the Walt Jr character from Breaking Bad is an accurate representation of cerebral palsy? Has the show increased awareness about cerebral palsy?

pberenz2 karma

I haven't really watched that show so I can't really answer this question. The fact that you know about CP from watching the show says something though

theREALbmills1 karma

A friend of mine Bonner Paddock summited Kili a few years back and he has CP. I'm assuming you've heard of him and his foundation?

If you haven't you should definitely contact him as I'm sure he'd love to know about your climb and could possibly offer some tips to someone else with the balls to attempt that climb with CP! Best of luck, man!!!!!!

pberenz2 karma

Thanks man. I contacted him a few months ago and got some great tips!! What he did at Iron Man is taking it to the next level!!! That dude is a beast!

theREALbmills1 karma

Yeah Bonner is a great dude; always been an inspiration, glad you guys talked. Good luck and be sure to come back here and post photos/video/stories!!!!

pberenz1 karma

Done and done!!

Valorumguygee1 karma

Do you enjoy making the rest of us look like losers with nothing to do?

pberenz1 karma

HA! I am just trying to show anyone can go out and make a positive change on in this world. Doesn't have to be climbing a mountain, I just happen to like climbing mountains.

thenss1 karma

How do you plan on getting 7 kills in under 30 seconds?

pberenz3 karma

I'm brutal with a battle rifle.

Bogsasaurus1 karma


pberenz1 karma

Thank you!

seitgeist1 karma

Good luck man. My mom did it a couple years ago and one guy in the group didn't make it down.

pberenz1 karma

Thank you dude! What happened? Was it from exhaustion?

seitgeist1 karma

I think it was altitude sickness plus a heart condition.

The guides will probably tell you a thousand times but pole pole! go slowly!

pberenz1 karma

That's the plan. I like to go quick but I have to remind myself it isn't a race to the top.

CrushedMelon1 karma

If you had the option to take a pill and get rid of your cerebral palsy, would you take it? Or would you want to keep it because it define you or for any other reason? Good luck!

pberenz2 karma

I would keep it. Living with CP I have learned how to always push forward. I have learned that when I fall to always get up and I have falling ALOT! It really has defined who I am.

_choupette1 karma

I don't have a question, just want to say I think that's awesome! GL!

pberenz2 karma

Thank you!

NineOneEight1 karma

Hi! First of all, Good luck on your journey up Kilimanjaro, I'm sure it will be absolutely epic when you reach the peak!

I have a nephew with fragile X syndrome which had been considered a version of autism until just recently. My question for you is, Do you feel that mental/physical disabilities as a whole are misunderstood in the United States?

pberenz4 karma

I think we live in a society geared towards people who do not have a mental/physical disabilities. I think people are quick to put limitations on those with mental/physical disabilities. The point I am really trying to convey to people is that everyone deserves to live a life without limitations and that people with mental/physical disabilities can push their own limits and can live a healthier and more independent life with the proper care.

martlet11 karma

What are the plans if you are up there and something goes wrong? Are there more safeguards in place medically for you if something happens? Will you be more susceptible to altitude problems?

Good luck up there!!

pberenz4 karma

Thanks man! We will be with a professional trekking operator who has oxygen bottles and are highly experienced to deal with any emergencies. Since I have a more mild case of CP, any injuries I would get would just be like anyone else. I did alright at 14,000 ft but who knows how my body will react at 19,000ft

Lippstreu1 karma

Good luck to you mate!

pberenz1 karma

Thank you!

Gwarr-12 karma

You don't look retarded. fake

pberenz5 karma

That is offensive on so many levels. Hate to be you with that type of attitude.