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Man raised in Pinellas climbs Mt. Everest, raises $140,000 to fund diabetes research

Cameron Kenny
Posted at 4:28 PM, Jun 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 12:21:14-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — A 28-year-old man who grew up in Pinellas County can now say he knows what it feels like to be on top of the world!

Cameron Kenny recently completed a two-month expedition in which he accomplished an amazing feat: summiting two of the world’s tallest mountains just 24-hours apart.

Despite being raised in Florida, the flattest state in America, Kenny said he always had a dream.

“For as long as I can remember, it’s certainly been a dream of mine. Going back to when I was 10 years old, I have always been infatuated with the great outdoors and Mt. Everest,” he explained.

Cameron Kenny climbing Mt. Everest
Cameron Kenny navigates the treacherous hike on Mt. Everest

Mt. Everest is the world’s tallest mountain. Kenny, who now lives in New York, spent last month braving whipping winds and wicked temperatures of -20 degrees while making his dream reality.

Kenny said the feeling he got when he reached the top of Mt. Everest was incredible.

“It all happened so quick, and it’s pretty hectic up there with the wind, but it was definitely a feeling I will remember and cherish forever,” he elaborated.

As soon as he conquered Everest on May 20, 2022; he quickly climbed to the summit of Mount Lhotse, the world’s fourth-tallest mountain. Climbing to both peaks within a 24-hour window is a feat that less than two dozen Americans can claim.

Kenny did it all while raising $140,000 for JDRF, an organization on a mission to find a cure for type 1 diabetes.

Cameron Kenny with JDRF flag
Cameron Kelly holds up the flag of the JDRF during a recent expedition on Mt. Everest.

Leslie Knudsen, who heads up JDRF’s National Integrated Fundraising Team, said she was blown away by the donation, which was twice as high as Kenny’s initial goal.

“The amount of money that one person - him alone - has raised with the support of others is truly remarkable,” she said.

Juvenile diabetes is a cause that’s close to Kenny’s heart after his younger brother, Andrew, was diagnosed eight years ago at the age of 17.

“A few months leading up to my climb, I saw the magnitude of this trip and the audience I was reaching and realized I could probably and should probably do this for something bigger than myself,” Kenny added.

Cameron Kenny and his brother
Hiker Cameron Kenny and his brother who inspired him to raise money for JDRF.

He hopes his climb inspires all of us to chase our dreams no matter how ambitious they might sound.

“The small boy from Florida climbed and summited Mt. Everest and it’s been fantastic,” he said with a smile.

Kenny wasn’t ready to say what adventures he may be up to next. He added that he’s not done raising money for JDRF or finding ways to contribute to the cause of finding a cure and helping families afford insulin.

“This is definitely not the end. There are a few ideas and a few thoughts I have, and I can’t wait to continue this partnership with JDRF,” he added.

Prior to his Mount Everest adventure, Kenny climbed Mount Kilimanjaro (Tanzania), Grand Teton’s peak (Wyoming), Mount Rainier (Washington), and Mount Denali (Alaska).