"I've climbed with some of the best climbers in the world, more importantly, to me, they are some of the best people in the world. That's another reason why I climb." Jim Wickwire
I have not read a quote that has more truthful than this as adversity, despite its nature, brings out the best in people. I have seen this when climbing with others as we are pushed to our physical limits, and I have seen this in my family years after my grandma passed from lung cancer although I was too young to remember.
I vaguely remember seeing how sick she was and how much that scared me at the time, but I could never remember the good times we shared even if I tried. I climb for the American Lung Association to give people the opportunities to make happy memories with the people they love as we all deserve the right to a happy, healthy life.
I vividly remember my first mountaineering experience from Paradise to Camp Muir on Mt. Rainier. We left my college at 11:00 pm to drive to Mt. Rainier National Forest and got there at 2:00 am. I had not had even a full minute of sleep before we were preparing to begin our alpine start. We started climbing at 3:00 am. I remember how the light began to touch of the forest and eventually the mountain.The air felt crisp in my chest and I was painfully aware of how steep the hill we were climbing was. When we got to the top of the hill I could hear the rumble of rocks falling in the distance but couldn’t see them. I just was grateful I was not in their path. I began to think, “Why am I out here?” I only wondered more as I spent all my energy getting to Camp Muir when, in fact, I was only half way through my battle with the mountain. It wasn’t until I was sitting in the Paradise parking lot as one sweaty, sore, tired mess with ten blisters on my feet that I had the answer to my question, because why not!
Last January, I had the privilege to go to India for two weeks. After seeing people, women especially, risking everything to follow their dreams, I knew I had to take full advantage of my opportunities to follow my passions. I now believe it to be morally wrong to squander potential when others don’t have the choice to take advantage of their own potential. Again, I climb because everyone has a right to have a happy, healthy life, but more specifically, I climb for those who can’t. I have done nothing to deserve living in this healthy, physically capably body. The least I can do is to give my time to this charity to give others a chance at leading physically capable lives.
2018 was a hard one for me. As I grieved the passing of my mom, I was in school full time and working but managed to make the dean's list, climb three mountains, lead climb for my first time, and push myself in the outdoors and in school in ways I never thought would be possible. Climbing above the clouds on Mt. Rainier, I remembered the guidance Isabelle gave me months ago when we first started training for this treck— to go as far as you think you can, and then take another step. Each step we took on that mountain was more grueling than the last, but seeing the alpine glow when the sun began to rise was intoxicating, and we've been climbing together ever since. But I don't take these accomplishments for granted. As my mom's condition worsened, I learned a lot about what it's like to live with a chronic condition. I'm truly blessed to be able to take up the challenge of climbing Mt. Hood in the first place, and I'm excited to be able to combine my love for climbing with a worthy cause. That's why this year, I'm Climbing for Clean Air to raise money for The American Lung Association!
Mount Hood in particular has had a sort of commanding hold over me ever since the first time I saw it, and truly is the theme for all of the goals I've set for myself in 2019. The mountain commands that you adapt to your environment. It commands that you are physically strong, but more importantly mentally strong. It commands that you surround yourself with other strong individuals who you can trust. And lastly, it commands that you overcome your fears and don't let them get in the way of your goals. Now that I've seen Mount Hood so many times from down here, I want to see what it looks like from the top- but we can't without your help!
Chances are you know someone who has faced the challenges of asthma, COPD, lung cancer or air pollution. By making a donation on my behalf, you will be helping the American Lung Association provide community based education programs, fight for cleaner air standards and fund life-saving research. With your help, we will fight against lung disease and for lung health. We will be making a positive difference for all of the parents who have a child with asthma, the people who struggle daily with COPD and the mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, children and friends who get diagnosed with lung cancer.
Every donation I receive helps make a bigger impact. Please help support my efforts to save lives, donate now.
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Sending peace, love, and encouragement to everyone in this New Year! Let’s make sure everyone can benefit from healthy lungs.
Together we can fight lung disease successfully!