A North Texas woman says her upcoming trip to Zambia will carry out one of her late husband's lifelong dreams.
Karen James leaves on Friday for the southern African country to meet a child she is sponsoring through a Christian humanitarian organization.
Her husband, Kelly James, died while climbing Mount Hood in 2007. She said he and his climbing partner dreamed of helping impoverished children in Africa.
Four-year-old Abgeer was born exactly one year before rescue crews found his body.
"Her birthday is December 17th," Karen James said. "That was the same date that they found Kelly's body in a snow cave."
She will meet Abgeer for the first time during her trip.
"I get to look into her eyes and tell her that she does matter," James said.
She is bringing a suitcase full of clothes, gifts, art supplies and a copy of a painting of the two of them.
"A dear friend of mine who is an artist painted a painting of me and my sponsored child," James said. "I have the original painting, and I get to give this to her."
She said a trip to Target proved emotional.
"When I picked up these pink tennis shoes, I just lost it in the middle of the aisle in Target and started to cry because I realized she was no longer a face in a photo or a $35 monthly deduction. She was a little girl," James said.
Her bigger mission is to bring clean water to 100,000 children in Zambia by drilling deep water wells. She formed the organization If You Knew with four other North Texas women.
"Myself and other women -- there are five of us -- felt that we could no longer sit in our comfortable living rooms and turn away from something we could do [to] make an impact," James said.
The group says it is halfway to its goal of "five women, $5 million, five years."
James said she has found her purpose and, ultimately, true peace through her faith and in giving back.
"It's really what you do with the sorrow and how you choose to live your life when it falls out from underneath you," she said.