Mississauga man hikes to active volcano in fundraiser for women’s shelters

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Published October 30, 2023 at 3:12 pm

jim chu ecuador challenge mississauga
Mississauga realtor Jim Chu is seen during a trek in the Purcell Mountains in 2021. Photo: Sebastian Albrecht

A Mississauga man joins a challenge to climb to the base of an active volcano in a fundraiser for women and children’s shelters.

Jim Chu, a realtor based in Mississauga, joins the Ecuador Challenge for Shelter, a five-day trek to the base of one of highest active volcanoes in the world — Mount Cotopaxi.

The challenge is organized by the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation.

In addition to paying all trip costs, each trekker is required to raise a minimum of $6,000 but Chu has already raised over $9,000.

Funds raised through pledges support a selected shelter in the realtor’s community (80 per cent) and the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation (20 per cent). This time Chu chose to support Armagh House in Mississauga.

Chu has a lofty fundraising goal of $50,000.

“I know it’s very ambitious,” Chu tells insauga.com. “But the way I look at it is you set a high goal and I think people are more motivated to donate when they see you’re kind of like, really far off.”

This isn’t Chu’s first trek for the Royal LePage Shelter Foundation. Back in 2021, he joined a trek in the Purcell Mountains in British Columbia. He likes to challenge himself but also support the community.

“(It’s) about giving back, I am of the philosophy that we make enough money that it shouldn’t be hard to give back to to contribute to society,” he said.

The 2021 hike was challenging with about eight to 10 hours of walking a day while carrying about 35 to 50 pounds of gear.

This one will also be challenging but the trekkers will carry less gear as some will be transported, Chu said.

Mount Cotopaxi is in the Andes Mountains about 50 kilometres south of Quito, the capital of Ecuador. Although still considered an active volcano, the last eruption was in January 2016, according to Global Alliance of National Parks. However, there was some “moderate eruptive activity” this summer, according to the Smithsonian Institute.

Cotopaxi has a nearly symmetrical cone shape and is often snow-capped.

To prepare for the trek, Chu is doing regular four to five kilometre jogs as well as walking a trail on the weekends to get used to climbing hills, he said.

Although the group is just trekking to the base of the volcano and not to the top, it will still be a high-altitude climb. Chu will be camping in a tent and going without cell service, electricity, bathroom facilities and other comforts of home.

“This trek will not be easy but it will be immensely worthwhile,” he writes on his fundraising page. “Each step I take and every dollar I raise will support courageous women and children in my community who are seeking safety and hope for a life free from abuse.”

Chu leaves for his adventure on Nov. 15 and will do a community support activity before starting the trek on Nov. 18.

For more information and to donate, see Jim Chu’s fundraising page here.

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