My brother, Barry, was a hiker.
He was a lover of nature and mountains were his calling. I lost my brother to prostate cancer two years ago, and the weight of his passing remains heavy. In fact, I have lost three members of my immediate family to cancer. It has taken an enormous toll.
I have always dreamt of Mount Everest, scaling it and standing at its summit triumphantly. But time has passed, and that opportunity is behind me. That was until my wife, Hollee, planned a trek for me to Everest Base Camp. Even in my late 60s, and woefully out of shape, I figured I could manage this downsized version of an Everest climb.
Still, though, I lacked the proper perspective and inspiration. I mean, it was great to imagine being there, in the shadow of such awesomeness, and the prospect of climbing with my good friend, David, who turned 70 this year, made the challenge more enticing. But I found my preparation lagging and a kind of dread settled in as I contemplated day-long travel to Nepal, altitude and acclimatization, snoring roommates and single-hole teahouse toilets. For what was I actually signing up?
And then it hit me! I need to do this for my brother who cannot join me, to raise funds for research into the cancer that claimed his life – and those of my sister and father – and to give real meaning to travel halfway around the world. With that goal in mind, I found my inspiration, began a workout routine, ate better and replaced dread with giddy anticipation. I am now 10 weeks from my departure date, and counting down with newfound enthusiasm.
I have my purpose, and I have my travel partner, and now I’m asking for you! Would you consider a tax-deductible donation to the American Cancer Society for cancer research in support of my trek? I’ll be honest. Knowing you have my back will inspire me to complete the 60-mile roundtrip. I can promise you that when the going gets tough, the realization that you are there with me will inspire me, and help me carry on. Your support will elevate me, quite literally, to heights I’ve never reached.
I sincerely thank you, in advance, for your kind participation in a worthwhile cause. Your support will push me along, and do a kindness in my family’s memory that will positively impact the lives of others, and hopefully make cancer a disease of the past. A cure certainly doesn’t begin and end with me, or this trip, but it does go a long way toward the good fight, and the battle is one worth waging.
I wish Barry were here to journey with me to Everest. We spoke often about sharing such a big adventure. But maybe all of us, working together, can reach a different kind of summit, a far more important one, that will profoundly change lives … long after treks like mine fade into memory. Memories are catalogued in photo albums, stored away as pleasant reminders. Meaning, however, is neither limited by memory nor contained in a book. It endures forever.