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He dreams of living on his own and writing screenplays for Marvel Studios. He climbs mountains that most of us only read about. And just like millions of other young adults in this country, my brother Troy is on the autism spectrum.


He doesn't see autism the way many people do, as a mental disability to be cured or overcome. Instead, he attributes his personality, his talents and his potential—everything that makes him unique—to his being on the spectrum.

In 2015, Troy hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro, the world's tallest free-standing mountain. Joined by my parents, a videographer, and a host of mountain porters, Troy's ultimate purpose wasn't just to reach the top. He climbed to raise tuition money for other students with intellectual disabilities who can't afford to go to college. Award-winning director and cinematographer Ben Stamper takes us on a visually stunning journey into the lesser-known side of autism, where the defining characteristics are empathy, empowerment, and self-discipline. 

To further Troy's cause, I created a zine to showcase his poetry and unique perspective up Kilimanjaro. 


ART: Hayley Christensen

POETRY: Troy Shumway