Military veterans set to climb Denali for a cause

- Marine Corps Sgt. Kirstie Ennis and Air Force Senior Airman Katelyn Sheehan have both retired from the service. Though, for the past two years, they've been prepping for a new mission: the pair plans on becoming the first all-female veteran team to summit Denali, the highest peak in North America.

"It's a month of freezing our cheeks off," Sheehan said.

Ennis added, "The survival aspect—it reminds you that you're alive."

If successful, Ennis will also be the first female veteran amputee to climb Denali, which is in Alaska. The 27-year-old's left leg was amputated after a helicopter crash in Afghanistan.

"I've just figured out how to suffer well," Ennis said. "I am totally comfortable with being uncomfortable."

"There's nothing about her that is a void of ability," Sheehan said of Ennis. "This woman rises to absolutely every challenge and I am stoked to be her climbing partner."

Sheehan's scars are less visible. The 29-year-old left the Air Force with PTSD and traumatic brain injury. For years, she searched for other ways to serve.

"We both kind of scrambled after service to figure out 'Who are we and how do we continue to serve our country?'" Sheehan said.

The veterans are climbing in support of Building Homes for Heroes, which provides mortgage-free houses to veterans and their families.

On Friday, the women were also awarded $5,000 from the FDNY.

"They've never taken the time to feel sorry for themselves, which is amazing in itself," Building Homes for Heroes CEO Andy Pujol said of Ennis and Sheehan.

While the ladies raise money for a great cause, they also say they want this climb to send a message that anything is possible.

"I hope people look at me and they watch me do this and I hope they just say, 'Hey, I can do it; I can do it just like her' or 'I can do it better than her,'" Ennis said.

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