Ex-Eagle Chad Lewis to Scale Mt. Kilimanjaro

Eagles Chad Lewis
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Former Eagles tight end Chad Lewis will be joining other former NFLers and injured service members to climb the tallest mountain in Africa.

Lewis will be trying to conquer Mount Kilimanjaro to raise awareness about the Wounded Warrior Project -- a nonprofit that helps wounded veterans.

The three-time Pro Bowler spoke to us from his home in Provo, Utah where he has been preparing for the climb by running everyday in his hiking boots including dashing a mile uphill to the "Y" in BYU.

"I've never done anything quite like this," said the 39-year-old.

Ex-Titans coach Jeff Fisher and Ex-Patriot Tedy Bruschi as well as four wounded vets will join Lewis as they climb the fourth highest mountain in the world later this month.

"This is a great opportunity for us," Lewis said. "What a great mission for us to be on."

The daunting task of scaling the Tanzanian peak isn’t easy and to get ready the ex-NFLers (Fisher also played four years for the Bears) climbed in Nevada, Colorado and New Hampshire.

But Lewis, who grew up a Boy Scout, says nothing could prepare them for what's ahead.

"19,300 feet is taller than anything I've ever seen," he said.

The wounded warriors -- Grand Fork, N.D.’s Ben Lunak; Hartsdale, N.Y.’s Nancy Chiliro; Exeter, Calif.’s Bryan Wagner and Annapolis, Md.’s Mike Wilson -- recently completed a rigorous three-day training session to prep for the May 13 to 19 climb, according to organizers.

A crew of 52 others -- two NFL office people, two people from WWP an ESPN cameraman and 47 local Tanzanian guides, will join the seven celebs -- to make sure the climb goes as smoothly as can be expected.

The coolest part of the climb -- well besides the sheer awesomeness of the whole thing -- is that we can all follow their progress on Facebook.

Lewis -- who despite being the NFL ambassador to China and having traveled extensively has never been to Africa -- said he is going to try to call in from the Mountain so stay tuned.

He also has a plan on what to do once he gets to the top.

"I can't wait to plant a Philadelphia Eagles flag on top of that mountain."

And since he is taller he expects his flag to fly just a bit higher than Bruschi's Patriots flag. (A little revenge maybe for Super Bowl XXXIX?)

Despite all the fun to be had this climb has a bigger meaning.

"These are men and women trying to readjust to life," Lewis said about the WWP.

The organizers want to also make sure that the meaning of this project isn’t lost on people marveling in the awesomeness:

This climb marks the launch of Wounded Warrior Project’s “Believe in Heroes” campaign. The campaign is designed to educate the public on the challenges facing this new generation of wounded American heroes.

Lewis said he can't wait to meet the four wounded vets on Monday night when they all arrive in New York. On Tuesday the group will tour ground zero and take a ride on the NYFD's 343 fireboat -- named for the firefighters who died on 9/11.

Lewis hopes fans watch online and also get involved in the cause. Donations to WPP can be made at believeinheroes.org.

Check back later this month to see how the guys are doing.

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