An organization dedicated to helping orphaned children in Kenya has established a fund benefiting the family of an Edmond climber killed in a climbing accident.
At about 8:30 a.m. Monday Mimi Bilyeu, 43, was ascending to the Upper Saddle of the Grand Teton (elevation 13,160 feet) with her climbing partner and a guide from Jackson Hole Mountain Guides when she fell while negotiating a short section above the Exum Gully, Jackie Skaggs, spokeswoman for Grand Teton National Park, said in a previous report.
Bilyeu was unresponsive when park rangers arrived on scene and could not be revived, Skaggs said. She was pronounced dead in consultation with the park’s medical director and park rangers on scene, Skaggs said.
Earlier this year, Bilyeu traveled with a team from The Maisha Project, formerly known as Maisha International, to Kenya. Maisha leads mission trips with churches, college students, families and individuals to the impoverished, war weary east African nation. Bilyeu ran with a group of Kenyan children from Maisha on a relay team in the Rift Valley Marathon.
Jennifer Whitener, spokeswoman for The Maisha Project, based in Oklahoma City, said members of Mimi Bilyeu’s family have requested donations be made to The Maisha Project in lieu of sending flowers. The fund is fiscally sponsored by United Charitable Programs.
Whitener said the nonprofit has set up a memorial fund at http://maishameanslife.ucpfund.org/mimi. It is live and ready to accept donations.
Funeral services for Bilyeu, which are under the direction of Baggerley Funeral Home, 930 S. Broadway, are pending.
Dana Collie, a Maisha Run for Life team member, is one of many area residents who considered Bilyeu a friend.
“I lost a dear friend …,” Collie said. “She was doing what she loved to do, she was fearlessly following her passion. Her heart was kind, loving, spirited, adventuresome, brave and connected to those fortunate enough to have shared part of her journey.”
Collie said Bilyeu was also deeply connected to all the world’s beauty and majesty. Among other places, Collie said, she will see Bilyeu in “the hearts and smiles of those precious children at Maisha who you so lovingly embraced during our time there. Most importantly, I will see you in your beautiful, amazing children who will carry on your legacy.”
Bilyeu is survived by her husband Mark and their two teenage children. She was a graduate of Deer Creek High School and was involved in many charitable activities in the area.
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