Fayetteville mountain climber headed to Nepal to help with the earthquake relief effort

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Donna Decker-McCollum has already climbed the tallest mountains in the world. Now, she has been asked to return to the hills to help save lives in Nepal.

Donna Decker-McCollum has already climbed the tallest mountains in the world. Now, she has been asked to return to the hills to help save lives in Nepal.

"I am going to go up to the higher-up villages," said Decker-McCollum, "and take water purification systems, and distribute water, because so many people are dying because they don't have water, and they haven't had water for two weeks."

Decker-McCollum will be working in Nepal's villages above 8,000 feet where the higher altitudes can make breathing and working difficult.

It shouldn't be hard for Decker-McCollum. She is a skilled mountain climber and said she can take the higher altitudes. In 2010, she hiked to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro and then two years later she climbed to the top of Mount Everest.

"I think I will be good at 8, 12, 14, even 16 (feet), she said. "I will be fine."

Decker-McCollum is not packing a lot of high altitude equipment this time, but she is taking a care package of crayons and coloring books for the children in those hard hit areas.

"The psychological effects of what has happened has been more damaging that physical," she said. "So with the help of Fayetteville Academy and Manna Church, we gathered a whole bunch of stickers, crayons, and coloring books so I can just sit down with the kids, and let them be kids."

Decker-McCollum will also be working with Dr. Mark Miller, who is a former Fayetteville surgeon who has been in Nepal for several weeks as part of the Christian Broadcast Network's Disaster Relief Team, which is helping the badly injured.

It is a mission of mercy for Decker-McCollum and others.

"All I can do is take my own hands and feet, and with love in my heart, console them, and let them know everything is OK," she said.

Decker-McCollum flies out of RDU early Saturday morning.

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