Baseball star scales Kilimanjaro in charity fundraiser

A star player with the New York Mets swapped the baseball diamond for the slopes of Kilimanjaro to raise money for a charity supporting the victims of sex trafficking in India.

Starting pitcher R.A. Dickey took a Thrane & Thrane Explorer 500 BGAN terminal donated by Inmarsat when he climbed the 19,341-foot (5,895-metre) mountain.

This allowed him to file a daily blog for the New York Times and keep followers on Twitter up to date – helping to bring in more donations and to raise awareness of the work of Bombay Teen Challenge.

Health clinic
The charity was set up in Mumbai, India, in 1990 to rescue and care for impoverished women, children and men caught up in prostitution.

Dickey, along with two fellow players – teammate Dave Racaniello and Colorado Rockies pitcher Kevin Slowey – was helping to raise over US$100,000 for a new health clinic in the centre of the city's red light district.

Connecting with the New York Times to transmit his copy and photos proved quick and easy, said Dickey.

“I found BGAN absolutely fantastic,” he said. “There wasn't a single time I had trouble hooking up with the satellite from the side of the mountain.”

In his blog, Dickey described both the exhilaration and the misery of the climb, as he and Racaniello suffered from altitude sickness but managed to plough on.

“We reached the summit just as the glow from the sun was trying to make its way over the eastern part of the mountain,” he wrote.

“We had done it! We gave hugs and high-fives all around above the clouds at the highest point in Africa.”

Dickey, who achieved a lifelong ambition by scaling Kilimanjaro, also used BGAN to stay in touch with his family back home in Nashville, Tennessee, during the 12-day trip.

“It was a great way to lift morale, not just for me but for my wife and four kids, as I could let her know I was ok,” he said.

Bombay Teen Challenge: