I’m so glad you were willing to join me and the 2019 Climbing for ROMP ELITE Team here today!
This year, the Climbing For ROMP (C4R) Elite Team is committed to raising $150,000 on behalf of the Range of Motion Project (501c3).
All funds raised go directly to support ROMP’s mission to provide quality prosthetic care and community rehabilitation and integration programs in underserved populations worldwide.
And this is a big deal as 80% of the world's amputees have access to just 2% of the resources and care needed to support even basic life, family and work functions, services that are so easily available in places like the US it's easy to take them for granted.
This a serious global healthcare issue which has wide-ranging impacts in all sorts of areas, including the global economy, and more importantly the health and wellbeing of the most deserving of individuals.
Why this matters to me (and maybe someone you know)
Today, at 39 years old, I am whole, mobile and healthy; able and grateful to contribute to someone or something meaningful other than myself.
It wasn't always that way…
Life kind of has a way of delivering defining moments to you. I’m not sure you can find them, but rather, they find you.
One of mine happened on a snowy spring morning in Frisco, CO shortly after stumbling into the DMV to manage a license issue that I had been neglecting for some time.
I so clearly recall pulling a ticket and hoping this wait would be as short as possible.
Every cell in my body was screaming in pain. I was shaking badly, barely able to print my name legibly on the required forms and unable at one point to remember my social security number.
I wanted nothing more than to get this whole thing over with and find my bed where I could have the space and solitude to battle this demon-thing that held possession of my mind my body.
I had just finished a phone call with a friend, a distraction to manage the time. I hung up, glanced at my ticket number and turned to find the digital number queue thing. I caught a glimpse of red dots and then…
Well, the next thing I remember was waking up on flat on the floor with several paramedics transferring me to a gurney, carrying me to an ambulance where I was taken to a nearby Emergency Room. I was quite grateful for the staff and support and when I heard things like, Karl, we’re glad you’re here. You’re lucky to be alive.
You don't forget things like that.
The years leading up to this day had been filled with fights and flights with traumas and circumstances that, at the time, I had no idea how to manage. I was in a full-on sprint into avoidance and depression and what dissipated into a life-threatening relationship with alcohol.
My relationships were spiraling out of control; my career basically non-existent and my health, well...
That spring day nearly a decade ago I experienced what's called a grand mal seizure. It was the result of withdrawal. And if you know about this type of thing, you know that some people don't get to wake up.
I don't share this for sympathy or attention or absolution. It’s not like that. We all have our sh*t and no one person's struggle is better or worse than any other’s. We all got it.
I certainly don't share for pity. I share this out of LOVE. Love is ruthless. It doesn't pity anyone. But it does have compassion.
I share this also because not all disabilities look the same. And what’s true is that while many of us seem to debilitate ourselves while others show us what's really possible when compassion, commitment, and the willingness to give and to receive help come together.
It took for me a life-threating mental and physical health issue to come to that place: to be willing to receive help.
Meanwhile, all over the world, there are those who are READY and WILLING to receive the help they need to become whole in whatever way that means to them. That is my experience with ROMP and the mission that is carried out by this amazing TRIBE every day.
Even now, several years later, this isn't easy for me (or at least my ego) to manage. It's also not always easy to share. But here's what I think, or at least have learned.
Life is f*cking hard. "Being human is hard." (thanks, Meg Fisher). Not just for me or people who are missing limbs or loved ones or meaning or even hope.
Accepting this help, this love and compassion saved my life. I've done and continue to do a lot risky and maybe even dumb things in the mountains and in my career. But even all of those seem trivial compared to that simple acknowledgment that help and humility is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. Simple. Not easy.
As simple as it sounds it was the hardest thing I've ever done. Like, no joke, a mountain with no top. I ask people who are struggling with their own stuff and have no idea what to do or how to move forward this: what are you willing…?
I mean, where do you start, how do you turn what 'feels' like the most horrible thing that you can possibly imagine into something good, maybe even a miracle...?
THIS IS THE STORY of ROMP. WHY I'M HERE. WHY I CLIMB.
Thanks to the support of my family and friends (you know who you are!), the newly revived relationships and the brand new relationships I found in my favorite old wild places, new relationships in the mountains with people like Kathy and everyone at ROMP, I discovered a renewal, a sense of spirit, wellness and meaning.
But more important I had the Light back. I had my SELF back. And that is something very valuable. And the ONLY way to hold onto that value for is to give freely of it. To be willing and to share in willingness. It doesn't come from us but it does come through us.
These are the stories that are created in the ROMP clinics everyday and in service to individuals who are WILLING life, love and healing in all that they do. This is #mobility. This is why I climb.
If this sounds like you or someone you know, would you consider helping me reach my personal goal of raising $4,000 for ROMP with a $150, $75 or even $25 donation today?
It would literally mean a lifesaving transformation for someone ready and willing to make this year, this day, this defining moment the healthiest, happiest, and most prosperous one imaginable.
So here's the thing, we all have our mountains to climb in this life. Maybe you're dealing with your own mountain right now and you have no idea where the top is.
I welcome your support, your attention, your shares. It means the world to me.
And if you haven't already, check out the short vid, La Cumbre (in the link up above). It's Kathy P's story. Kathy is a ROMP patient and 2019 Elite Team Member. La Cumbre is her story and in a real way, the story of C4R.
Kathy, the team and I will be celebrating our FUNdraising efforts again in just a couple weeks with an attempt to summit Cotopaxi - a 19,347ft mountain just outside of Quito, Ecuador.
What that means for ROMP is the ability to serve 150 individuals with functional prosthetic and integrative care--a path forward in turning quite possibly the worst thing that’s ever happened to a human being into something better, good even.
So here's my ask...
Will you help me reach my personal commitment to see FOUR ROMP patients receive the care they need today?
Here's how your donation dollars directly impact a ROMP patient:
- $150 provides a new prosthetic foot
- $250 provides a new prosthetic knee
- $300 provides a new socket
- $1,000 provides a new prosthetic device to someone in need and follow up care!
Even $10 or $20 makes a difference and sends a powerful message of support to this community.
If you or someone you know has experienced a tragic illness or injury, you might imagine what this means.
It could mean...
- A child gets their mom or dad back,
- A loved one gets their career and purpose back, a community gets a contributor back,
- A human being gets their dignity, humanity, and spirit back.
In fact, these are the exact stories being spun in ROMP's Guatemala and Ecuador clinics every day.
People like Kathy and so many others on our team, whose personal stories with this condition rocked my world when I first heard it at the Arc'teryx store in Denver, and with whom I got the honor of attempting again a really big mountain with to celebrate (short, 2018 C4R video here).