The true story that inspired ‘Reporting Lives’

In February 2003, Sun-Times reporter Debra Pickett was assigned to write about a trio of Chicago women who’d decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in order to raise awareness of the impact of the AIDS pandemic in sub-Saharan Africa.  Interviewing Ann Gallagher, Katie Karnick and Phyllis Shadwick, Debra found herself impressed by their passion and mildly concerned for their safety.  Months later, after their climb and their return home, she followed up with them to see if they felt their efforts had made any impact.  They introduced her Tom Derdak, the Executive Director of the charity where they’d donated the funds they raised.  As they talked about where the money had gone, Derdak told Debra that she should go see things with her own eyes.  And so, in January 2004, she did.  That first trip to Kenya and Tanzania was life-changing in many ways; inspiring her to write this book was just one of them.

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Posted by Debra Pickett on 02/07 at 01:35 PM