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Songshine founder Ruthanna Metzgar returns from Mt. Kilimanjaro trek

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Ruthanna Metzgar climbs Mt. Kilimanjaro for Songshine Foundation

The founder of local nonprofit “Songshine,” 76-year-old Ruthanna Metzgar has returned home from the 42 mile trek up Mount Kilimanjaro. Eye on the Desert’s Caitlin Thropay met with Metzgar to hear about her journey and the amount of money she was able to raise for her foundation.

“Having just returned from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro at 19,341 feet, where it was freezing cold, I can say being back in the warmth of this desert is absolutely wonderful. I will never complain about the heat again," Metzgar said.

We first spoke with Metzgar in August while she trained for her trek. Today, she’s looking back on the memory after conquering Africa's highest summit.

“We went through five climate zones," she said. "We started in what we considered the jungle and then we moved up to various levels that were more and more bare," she added.

Metzgar did the trek in memory of her late husband and to raise money for “Songshine.” Her foundation uses music to help stroke victims, those with Parkinson's disease or other neurological disorders learn to speak again.

She’s still waiting for some pledges to get in but right now she has raised over $20,000.

“But it isn’t about me," she shared. "It’s about the program."

When we asked her if she plans on taking on any more heights she said she’s thinking about Mt. Fuji next year.

Metzgar is hosting a benefit luncheon for Songshine on November 16 to help raise money for scholarships for those who can’t pay for her classes. The luncheon is at 12:30 at the Westin Mission Hills Resort. A silent auction starts at 10 a.m. You'll also get the chance to hear from the Songshine singers in a special performance. You can get tickets at

Eye on the Desert / News Headlines / Top Stories

Caitlin Thropay

Caitlin Thropay is the Weekend Morning Anchor and Lifestyle Reporter for KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News Leader. Learn more about Caitlin here.


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