How longtime Pats fan helped Bruschi

Tedy Bruschi took the first leg of his journey to climb Mount Kilimanjaro on Monday, and he writes about it in a piece now posted on ESPNBoston.com. As part of the piece, Bruschi explains how a longtime Patriots fan, Randy "Zip" Pierce, helped him prepare.

A couple of weeks ago, I met Zip up in New Hampshire. We climbed Piper Mountain, then Whiteface, then back to Piper. We climbed up Belknap Mountain and then went over to Gunstock. One of the biggest things was that it helped me get used to my gear. I had never put on a Camelback before, with all the straps and the drinking apparatus, the hiking poles. I was every bit of a rookie, so Zip showed me the ropes. That definitely got me more comfortable going to Kilimanjaro. It's a huge mountain compared to what we did, but I still feel more comfortable that I got the background with Zip.

Bruschi explains how he was inspired being with Pierce, who is blind and climbs with his seeing-eye dog The Mighty Quinn. He also touches on how he's looking forward to sharing his experience with four Wounded Warriors.

We'll be making the climb with four of them -- two have prosthetic legs and one is visually impaired. All have unique stories and I'm looking forward to meeting them and learning about their experiences -- Ben, Brian, Nancy and Mike. The Wounded Warriors experience helps veterans reintegrate into society. They leave a certain way and come back a different way, and that's something to get used to. For them to climb a mountain like Kilimanjaro, it's inspiring. They can prove to so many people that "I may not be what I used to be, but I can still conquer many of the challenges that are left to do in life.