By CLARK MASON
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Emily Goldfield climbed Africa’s highest mountain when she was 14, reaching the summit of 19,340-foot Mount Kilimanjaro at dawn.
In addition to fulfilling a personal goal, it set the agenda for the Sebastopol teen’s freshman year of high school.
“I’ve always been sort of an adventurous, outdoor person,” Goldfield said. “Mom and I joked about it. ‘Some day we should go climb Mount Kilimanjaro.’ ”
But while they were in Africa, Goldfield visited a medical clinic. She was struck by the health tragedies, the young women who were dying of conditions that could be treated in the U.S., whether malaria or AIDS, and the children they left behind.
And she wanted to help.
Once she got home, she mounted a drive to collect money for an ultrasound machine. She organized private fundraisers that included speaking to service clubs and classmates, holding a “Dine and Donate” event at Johnny Garlic’s restaurant and being interviewed on KZST-FM radio.
Last month, Goldfield finished collecting $15,000 to pay for the new diagnostic machine at the Foundation for African Medicine and Education in northeast Tanzania.
“It’s used mainly for seeing babies in pregnant women and for blood clots and breast lumps,” she said. “Also for broken bones. They don’t have an X-ray machine.”
The much-needed ultrasound machine sells for $60,000, but half the cost was subsidized by the manufacturer. A radiologist in San Mateo paid $14,000, enabling Goldfield’s assembled donations to pay for the rest.
The trip to Africa and the charitable outreach were instilled in large measure by Goldfield’s mother, Dr. Loie Sauer, a surgeon at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Rosa who lived in Kenya in the 1980s and worked with South African flying doctors.
“She’s always had a very big perspective for her age. She’s always been sort of an old soul,” said Sauer. “She has tremendous focus, a great heart and an incredibly good brain.”
Chris Schloemp, Goldfield’s honors English teacher at Montgomery High School, described her as the model of a well-rounded student and “a young lady of exceptional academic talent, who is already quite dedicated to public service.”
Before leaving for Kilimanjaro, Goldfield gathered three duffel bags full of donated clothes, shoes and toys for orphanages. When she got to Africa, Emily was impressed by the children she encountered there, including the orphans.
“They’re the happiest and most carefree children,” she said. “They have so much less than what we have. They make so much of what they do have.”
Goldfield’s altruism is not just limited to Africa. She spent spring break doing homebuilding projects for the poor in Tijuana, and at the end of June she will travel to Chile to stay with friends of her father, award-winning winemaker Dan Goldfield. She hopes to find volunteer work while she’s there.
“I want to work on my Spanish. I’m still figuring out my plans,” she said.
At Montgomery High School, Goldfield takes all honors classes and is working toward the international baccalaureate program. She also played freshman basketball and earned a spot on the varsity track and cross-country team, qualifying in the 800-meter race for the North Coast Section’s Redwood Empire meet.
That athleticism helped propel her up Mount Kilimanjaro.
“Most of the hike is pretty easy,” she said, except for the last part of the four-day hike, which starts at midnight and involves seven hours of hiking in the dark and scrambling on loose rocks.
“It’s a little intimidating,” Goldfield said, but worth the effort. “Most (people) want to see the sunrise from the top of the mountain, which is pretty spectacular.”
You can reach Staff Writer Clark Mason at 521-5214 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
School: Montgomery High School
Lives with: Parents Loie Sauer and Dan Goldfield, brother, Jamie Goldfield, 17, and nanny, Laurie Smyth.
Favorite music: “That’s a hard one for me.<QA0>
A lot of different stuff.”
Favorite song: None really. I’m really bad at favorites.”
Favorite movie: “Are there any other categories? I’m pretty undecided.”
Job: “Occasional babysitting. I don’t really have much free time.”
Pets: Two cats, Bob and Maya.