Life Through a Different Lens
December 31, 2015
I hiked the Grand Canyon 25 years ago when I was 22. I have always been a lover of nature, and I found peace and energy from hiking a tall mountain or climbing down into a cavern that was less traveled.
When I was climbing, I felt most connected to the universe. I had the privilege of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in January of this year with Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma, a team of patients, caregivers and regular people who — like all of us — are touched by cancer in one way or another. Throughout my life, I have been around the doctors and nurses that are entrusted with cancer patient care. A few of my family members have battled cancer and my family business is oncology research and publishing. I have known much sorrow and sadness caused by the intolerable disease called cancer. I have also witnessed tremendous joy when a targeted therapy is a perfect match in a clinical trial that saves a life.
Through climbing Kilimanjaro with these four patients, I learned what true strength and resolve really is. As a parent of four teenagers I thought I was tough, but I did not know real strength and hope.
These patients — my heroes — climbed through altitude sickness and -40° temperatures with the wind chill. We all went to Africa to raise much need money to allow the MMRF to fight this disease, but the patients went to give hope, too, and inspiration to all patients, survivors and loved ones. They conquered the highest free-standing mountain in the world — not for glory or for a bucket list — but because they promised other patients that they would take their names to the top. At 18,000 feet, I wanted to stop, maybe rest and maybe turn around. It was the patients’ commitment and drive to find a CURE that enabled me to reach the summit.
Today, as I climb the mountains in North Carolina where I live and plan my return to my beloved Colorado, each climb and walk is a bit greener and more magnificent then ever. Those patients taught me the importance of “the precious present.”
I am counting down the minutes till our team enters the Grand Canyon and climbs to the floor of one of the Wonders of the World. My heart tells me that our team, again, will climb out as a family — a family committed to making a difference to extend and saves lives, plus build a better quality of life for those with cancer.
Today I see life through a different lens.