Like many of us, Brittney Woodrum had a lot of plans for 2020. The University of Denver graduate student was going to travel the world and continue her work for the various NGO's she'd been working for before graduate school.
However, when the coronavirus pandemic started, Woodrum began to accept that her travel plans would have to be put on hold. But what she couldn't accept was staying at home and "waiting this thing out."
So, the Kentucky native began to look for an organization she could partner with to make the most out of her newly flexible schedule. She quickly found and committed to ShelterBox -- a mostly volunteer-run organization that provides emergency shelter and tools for displaced families around the world -- recognized internationally by the turquoise box which physically holds the relief products.
She joined as an ambassador and learned that participating in physically challenging projects with the bluish green box was central to the organization's mission.
As an avid hiker and lover of the outdoors, the 27-year-old decided she was going to climb all 58 of Colorado's 14,000 feet peaks with the goal of raising awareness and funding for families around the world who have lost their homes and are now facing the threat of COVID-19.
Seventy-eight days and nearly 600 miles of hiking later, Woodrum raised $85,0000 from friends, family and strangers around the world. All while carrying the symbolic -- and useful -- 14-pound box.
Woodrum said because the project came together so quickly, she didn't think she would raise more than $5,000. "Word seemed to spread very quickly and a lot of people were equally impassioned by ShelterBox's mission and what I was doing," she said. "I have an immense amount of gratitude to everyone who came out to support me both virtually & physically."
The journey was not easy. "There were a lot of variables involved," she said. "From the weather to my health and well-being. I am so relieved that everything went better than expected."
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Woodrum spent most nights camping but spent her fair share of nights in her car.
"I really wanted to avoid going into towns and hotels to minimize my impact on the spread of the coronavirus," Woodrum -- who said she only went grocery shopping twice throughout the entire journey -- told CNN. "It was definitely an adventure. I ate a lot of mashed potatoes."