Michael Proctor II is a nine-year-old boy from Martins Ferry.
Michael has autism, but that does not stop him from doing what he loves, even climbing mountains.
His dad, Michael Proctor, said their family was always involved in local walks for autism, and when those started to disappear, they wanted to find something new to do together.
“We came across a book that somebody wrote. It was called ‘Climbing for Autism’ and it was actually about parents who have children with disabilities and what it’s like raising them. They compared it to climbing a mountain. So I said, ‘You know what, let’s actually climb a mountain’,” said Proctor.
They did some research and decided to climb Mount Marcy, the highest peak in the state of New York.
They prepared by climbing hills in the area and even backpacked from Martins Ferry to Rayland and back.
On June 21, after more than 13 hours of hiking, they reached the top of Mount Marcy.
Young Michael is now unofficially the youngest person with a disability in the world to summit a 5,000 foot mountain, beating the previous record held by a boy in Belize who climbed Mount Victoria at 3,600 feet.
Proctor says he is extremely proud of his family and Michael.
He wants this to be a message that children do not have to be limited by a disability.
“You know, a lot of parents who have kids with autism or any type disability at all, they tend to bottle them up. They’re too scared to get out there and experience those things. Our goal was to let parents know you don’t have to be scared to get out there and do those things. Enjoy it,” said Proctor.
And the Proctor family is not done yet.
In 2018, they are planning to climb Mount Albert in Colorado which is the tallest peak in the Rockies.
After that, they want to summit Mount Whitney which is the tallest peak in the lower 48 states.
The Proctor family also used their climb as an opportunity to raise money for “The Arc of Ohio,” an organization that aims to advance the rights of Ohio citizens with disabilities. They raised $500.