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Louisville nonprofit gets unforgettable photo-op at the top of the world

A young volunteer for WaterStep gifted the group a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity from Mount Everest.
Published: May. 13, 2022 at 4:33 PM EDT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A Louisville nonprofit is feeling on top of the world after an unexpected shout out from the literal top of the world.

A young volunteer for WaterStep gifted the group a once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity from Mount Everest.

“I don’t know how many nonprofits have had their flag actually on the top Mount Everest,” Mike Hogg, WaterStep Founder and CEO said. “Maybe we’re the only one?”

The photo is a bit blurry, but it is easy to make out a smiling Lucy Westlake as she raises the WaterStep flag with the peak of Mount Everest in the background.

Westlake is only 18 and the youngest American woman to make the climb.

“I really just like pushing my limits,” Westlake told NBC’s Today Show on Friday “I just want to see how far my mind and body can go. And I hope to inspire others to do the same. Because it’s really... that’s how you figure out who you are.”

Westlake’s work with WaterStep started when disease struck the village of her pen pal in Uganda. Since then, she’s been helping the organization deliver clean water systems around the world. And she has been doing it while climbing the world’s highest mountains.

Before Everest, Westlake raised the WaterStep flag on Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Denali.

“She’s got this incredibly kind spirit, this innocence,” Hogg said about Westlake. “There’s a mountain? I can climb that. I’m going to climb that. There is a waterborne illness? I can solve that.”

Westlake is set to graduate from high school this year in Illinois. She is currently planning trips to the North and South Poles.

WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram...
WAVE — Louisville and Southern Indiana's NBC affiliate. Follow us on Twitter & Instagram @wave3news.(WAVE)

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