“Don’t be the mountaineer that reaches the peak, but misses the point.”—An adage about life by Chris Warner, one of only 9 Americans to summit K2 and Everest, founder of Earth Treks, and one of our amazing expedition leaders for Survivor Summit’s climb of Kilimanjaro.
We scrambled over some crazy rocks at high altitude, and the made our way down Karanga Valley to camp with the summit getting closer (as well as more attainable, mentally). With the way the rocks overhung the wall, I’m seriously happy to have only had to do that section once.
Well, I’m heading to the airport today for my flights to Tanzania! Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who has donated to LIVESTRONG on my behalf (over $10,000 raised individually, and $200,000 as a team!); offered me kind messages of support; and kept up with my blog.
I hope to share pictures and stories from the climb with all of you soon. I have no idea what internet access may be like, but I do know I want to include everyone in this journey as soon as I’m able.
Please keep my Survivor Summit teammates and I in your thoughts and prayers as we travel and attempt to summit Kilimanjaro, and I’ll do the same for the 28 million people living with cancer.
June 26: Drive to Machame trailhead. Five hours of hiking through a temperate rain forest to a small clearing, where we will establish camp at 10,000 feet.
June 27: Continue up the ridge with short sections of scrambling. By midday, we will be above tree line and will establish camp at 12,800 feet.
June 28: Today, we will head SE around Kilimanjaro’s main peak. We will be close to the famed Breach Wall and Lava Tower, descending to camp.
June 29: Rest Day.
June 30: Hike to Karanga Valley Camp with lots of short scrambles.
July 1: Hike to Barafu Camp, which will be a short day due to altitude. Early dinner today and a start towards summit before midnight.
July 2: Summit Day! 19,341 feet up to the world’s tallest free standing mountain, Africa’s highest mountain, and one of the “Seven Summits.” After a 12 hour day, we will descend to 10,200 feet and set up camp.
July 3: Five to six hours of hiking will take us through a dense jungle to the trailhead. The reward: hot showers and a celebratory dinner.
July 4: Head to Ngorongoro Conservation Area/Crater for safari.
In short, I’ve been motivated to go on this journey thanks to so many people. Today, though, I want to take the time to talk about a family that I haven’t met and yet, they’ve changed my life. I climb for men of the King family: Paul, Mike, Matt, Brian, and dad, Paul.
In July of 2011, dad Paul was diagnosed with cancer. Just two months later, he participated with his sons in the LIVESTRONG Challenge Philadelphia on his beach cruiser and underwent surgery the following month.
In October 2011, the King brothers entered the LIVESTRONG Challenge Austin with a totally new perspective, as well as a new idea: a trip to not only summit Mount Kilimanjaro, but to help people affected by cancer. Together, the family founded the Survivor Summit Foundation, a non-profit that aims to support survivors and cancer fighters who want to tackle challenges big and small. “We started Survivor Summit,” wrote Mike, “with the intention of offering survivors and their supporters the opportunity to take on new and different challenges. Since [its] inception, we’ve had LIVESTRONG supporters from 77 countries come to our website and learn about our mission and events. This response is astounding, and each visitor brings their own story.”
Those stories found their way into a much wider support network in December 2011, when Survivor Summit and LIVESTRONG officially partnered together to launch this incredible event.
That’s when my life changed. I saw a post on LIVESTRONG’s Facebook page about climbing Kilimanjaro to fight cancer. Having been personally affected by friends and family who had fought against this disease, I signed up. I wanted to do my part to help. A few days later, Mike called me and invited me to join the team. If I remember correctly, it took a little bit of time for him to convince me; I told him I wanted to be a part of the fight, but that I really wasn’t much of a mountaineer. I wanted to know how plausible it was for me to make it to the top. When he informed me that he had made it to the top of the mountain previously with UPenn’s Wharton School without ever having been on an indoor rock wall, I wholeheartedly agreed to participate.
And that’s how I got here, writing this blog, packing like a crazy person, and taking off for Tanzania on Saturday.
As for Paul, I understand he is currently doing well, with plenty of positive test results. Ironically enough, he emailed me a little while back to let me know how close we had been to crossing paths even without our involvement with Survivor Summit: his family has vacationed in Ocean City, New Jersey for more than 30 years. This little shore town happens to be about 25 minutes from where I grew up. Small world.
The funny thing is that life can take you a lot of different places for what seems like no reason at all: I had to move down to Austin to meet a family that was less than half an hour away from me for many years. As such, I’m now involved with an incredible organization and I’m about to embark on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to help others. I’m thankful for this opportunity and very proud that my teammates and I have raised over $200,000 to help cancer programs and services at LIVESTRONG, too.
Today, I climb for the King family. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am right now. I can’t wait to meet Mike and Brian in a few days, climb to the roof of Africa with them, and remember this experience for the rest of my life.Thanks so much for helping to put together the logistics of the climb and our massive fundraising endeavor, and I’ll see you guys soon!
Check out my amazing teammate, Danny Shoemaker, in a local report about our Kilimanjaro climb. Danny has been diligently walking up and down the stairs in his office building to train, proving that even with a busy schedule, he’ll be in top shape for the climb! See you soon, Danny!
Haha. After all the packing and prepping for the trip, I lost my mind a little bit earlier this week. But I’m back in a good place now after reading this post. Is it sad, though, that I’m kind of looking forward to smelling terrible and not having to obey normal social cues as I trek to the roof of Africa with my teammates?
It first appeared in the clinical medicine section of the New England Journal of Medicine, and has since quickly gone viral around the world. This image shows the scary effects of sun exposure over time. Luckily, this gentleman had no evidence of skin cancer, and is undergoing treatment for his unilateral dermatoheliosis. “The clear message to the rest of the medical community and the world is that the sun greatly accelerates the aging process and is also a complete carcinogen,” Dr. Joaquin Brieva said. “Sun-avoidant behavior, the use of sun-protective gear, and UVA and UVB sunblocks are encouraged not only for cosmetic reasons, but for cancer prevention as well.” This is yet another reason to make sure you protect your skin and WEAR SUNSCREEN.
Today I climb for my undergraduate advisor and mentor, Dr. David Ebitz. In addition to being an incredibly insightful professor at Penn State, David also helped me figure out what I wanted to do with my life, and ultimately steered me toward graduate school. Without his guidance, I not only would not have gone to the University of Texas at Austin, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today.
Unfortunately, I was beside myself when, during my graduate studies, I found out that David was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. It seemed really cruel to me that someone so brilliant and thoughtful was fighting against a monster within his own mind. His treatment was palliative and all in all, his time left with his family was limited.
As such, I made it my mission to finish my graduate thesis for him. It was my hope that he would be able to take some comfort in knowing how inspirational he had been in my life, and that maybe, he would even be able to read bits and pieces of it. After I submitted my thesis to the Office of Graduate Studies on May 7, 2010, I emailed him the file. He got back to me just a few weeks later with a message I’ll never forget. Some of the concepts in here will probably mean very little to anyone outside of the field I studied, but the following message holds a special place in my heart:
"Date: Thu, 3 Jun 2010 09:07:55 From: DAVID EBITZ Subject: Re: Lisa’s Graduate Thesis To: LISA
I’m mortified in taking so long to thank you for your very kind dedication. I was moved—as in tears. :) You’ve done us all proud!
I’m delighted that you pursued a strategy of looking at practice through a theoretical lense—and you picked and applied a good one that makes sense to me. It certainly has not been one of the theories that has informed our practice as museum educators—check out the attached pdf of a survey of theories in art museum education I wrote a couple of years ago. The notion of the liminal does seen especially useful as a way to describe how we construct meaning (aggregate) in the museum.
I liked how you handled your literature review—you know this stuff and introduce the various related ideas/positions in a way that shows we are all talking about the same thing, using different terms, though the pleasure is in these nuanced differences. It was a good read.
I’ve not looked at Meireles’ work—thank you for introducing it to me. It seems especially good for this case study.
All done, the question is indeed figuring “out how one might create a practice of liminality.” This practice would make an interesting contrast to VTS, which becomes more successful in its marketing to the extent that aligns with the purposes and methods of formal education. :) Viva the space in between! And informal learning.
What comes next?
I still have this email—not only archived in my inbox, but also printed out and stowed away in a keepsake trunk. For me, it’s a reminder of how great David was; he had read everything and had taken the time to respond to me. I was so happy to have his input one last time, especially the part, “what comes next?” He was so great at mentoring, and it showed until the very end.
David passed away on December 21, 2010, but I still think of him a lot. I’m thankful that I’m here in Austin, a city I love…and I may have overlooked it without his sage advice. Because of David, I ended up somewhere I’m really, truly happy. As for “what comes next,” the answer over the long run of course is a little complicated, but at the same time, right now, it’s pretty simple:
I’m heading to the top of Kilimanjaro, with David in mind.
As we make our final preparations for our trip (most of us head out this Saturday), my Survivor Summit teammates and I are overjoyed to have raised more than $200,000 for cancer programs and services at LIVESTRONG. Thank you to everyone who has supported our cause so far; we hope to share pictures and stories from the summit of Kilimanjaro with you all in the next few weeks!
It's My Birthday! And I Leave for Tanzania in 6 Days!
Lots of exciting things going on in my life. In addition to it being Father’s Day today, it’s also my 28th birthday! This time next week, I’ll be landing in Tanzania with my sights set on climbing Kilimanjaro. The charity climb is a way to honor new and old friends, family, and loved ones who have faced this disease with courage, strength, and hope. I’m so excited to be a part of this great cause, and I promise to share plenty of pictures when I get back.
In the meantime, I’m going to find a root beer float, finish up last-minute prep, and make sure I’m ready!
In honor of Father’s Day coming up tomorrow, I climb for my dad. My dad has lived his life with intensity, loyalty, and passion, and has generously donated to a lot of good causes, too. He also built his own business, never losing sight of building something greater: his family. Family is a really big deal to him. So, this is a shoutout to one of the strongest men I know; thanks for teaching me to be strong, too, Dad. I’ll need it when I’m heading up Kilimanjaro. Every day, I climb for you.
I have Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, Alain de Botton’s The Art of Travel, and Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery on my reading list for my flights to/from Tanzania and downtime during the climb (for the fleeting moments reserved for when I’m not exhausted). Still need to purchase two of the aforementioned books, though. Any other suggestions for thoughtful, quick, or interesting reading? Please keep in mind that the books need to be light, too!
“The belief that cancer happens for a reason can be an attractive line of thinking—where there’s an effect, there must be a cause. This is what a logical mind tells us, but it’s usually untrue. Even when a patient is found to have lung cancer after decades of smoking, is cancer still the patient’s ‘fault?’ Even if there is a correlation to the choices a person makes in life, cancer is always deeply unfair.”—Suleika Jaouad, Life, Interrupted: Feeling Guilty about Cancer
Today, the New York Times celebrates a pioneer patient who challenged the traditional treatment for breast cancer. Babette Rosmond was a New York City writer and editor who went public with her diagnosis of breast cancer 40 years ago. Rosmond rebelled against the standard one-step radical mastectomy that most doctors performed during that time and demanded a choice in her treatment options. Kudos to Rosmond for being such a fighter. Read more of her little-known story of incredible bravery and strength in the link above.
Last July, Dr. Kate Granger was diagnosed with terminal cancer that had spread throughout her abdomen, liver, and bones. The 29 year old elected to stop treatment and undergo palliative care. Now, with the limited time she has left, she’s written an inspiring diary and has returned to her job as a hospital registrar. She’s also come to the realization of what it takes to be a more compassionate, caring doctor. “Having cancer has changed me,” she said. “It’s made me reali[z]e how important the little things are—holding a patient’s hand, sitting down with them and not standing over them, communicating news in a compassionate way and explaining the impact on them to their families.” She goes on to detail her vision for her legacy: “I wrote this diary in the dark hours of my hospital stays. I want it to be in every medical school and hope my colleagues read it and think about how they practi[c]e medicine.” Click the link above to read more about her incredible strength and bravery.
This Post Goes out to Some Awesome Sponsors and Donors
I picked up a cardboard mailing tube yesterday to pack my trekking poles in, which will go inside my gigantic Gregory duffel. The bright red North Face base camp duffel I purchased (with a very generous and kind discount!) from Whole Earth Provision Company is all packed up, too. I also received my light blue Sierra Designs fleece in the mail yesterday—which after a reasonably long day at work was a really nice surprise gift from the Survivor Summit organization!
Basically, this little post is a thank you to all the businesses that have sponsored/helped my teammates and I as we climb Kilimanjaro to benefit cancer programs and services at LIVESTRONG. But most importantly, I can’t ever forget to thank everyone who has DONATED to our cause. No matter how big or small your charitable contributions have been over these past 5 months, you’ve truly helped make a difference for people who are fighting cancer. Having loved and lost many people to cancer, my teammates and I couldn’t be more grateful for support from friends new and old, and family, too.
Even more last-minute preparations await: I’ll be picking up my malaria and altitude medication from the pharmacy today. Since I head to Tanzania on June 23, I’ll need to start the malaria prophylaxis late next week.
It’s getting so close now.I can’t wait to help hold that Honor Flag high at the top!
Adventure photographer Ben Moon is interviewed by Patagonia’s blog, The Cleanest Line. He discusses his cancer survivorship, saying, “I’m continually inspired by human emotion and how we’re in a constant state of growth and change. I survived colorectal cancer several years ago and that had a profound influence on how I connect with others.” He brings up great points about the importance of a support system while going through diagnosis, treatment, and life after cancer, and it’s amazing to see such a strong guy act so humble. Read more of his interview in the link above.
“One way to open your eyes is to ask yourself, ‘What if I had never seen this before? What if I knew I would never see it again?’”—Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, who passed away from breast cancer in 1964
Thanks to all my supporters who helped make my climb up Kilimanjaro to fight cancer a reality. Right now, my online fundraising total reads, “$9.934.41,” and there’s a $100 check in the mail that’s going to be a part of that total soon. I can’t wait for the online total to update and reflect this amazing milestone. We made it; I can’t believe it! THANK YOU again to everyone!
With over 100 different donations, this has truly been a grassroots effort. Donations to this cause will support cancer programs and services at LIVESTRONG. At the same time, this constant outpouring of generosity has also helped me meet the $10,000 fundraising requirement to participate in the climb.
I remember from my Texas 4000 ride how often I thought of my supporters. I’d think about their words of encouragement and stories about loved ones who had fought cancer, and all those memories helped make riding through terrible heat, crosswinds, and cold worth it. I’ll be sure to think of all my supporters and their stories when I begin the 38 mile trek to head 19,341 high in altitude. I still can’t believe that it’s so soon; I leave June 23 on a plane bound for Tanzania, and the official summit day is July 2. I hope I make it to the top, so I can honor everyone.
Thanks for helping to make the lives of cancer fighters and survivors a little easier through access to LIVESTRONG’s premiere programs and services. Today, I climb for everyone who has supported this charitable endeavor.
And just so you know: because you all will be in my mind, you’ll be making the trek up the mountain with me, too. I can’t wait to have all of you with me at the top :)
One of the things I look forward to is reading Suleika Jaouad’s very honest and beautifully-written blog in the New York Times every week. This week, she talks about losing her hair, and eventually finding a style all her own while in the fight of her life.
I love this event, and I was honored to volunteer and be a part of it all. In the link above, Mark Garza of the Flatwater Foundation thanks everyone for their support! I hope to be involved with it again next year.
Today I climb for my mom’s family, the MacCoys. June 6, 2012 would have been my grandfather’s (we lovingly called him “Pop Pop”) 100th birthday, and while I didn’t have too long to meet him (he passed away when I was a toddler), I’m thinking of him and his amazing sense of humor today. And according to my Aunt Jean, he really loved watching All in the Family—who can’t laugh at least a little bit watching that clip? And my Uncle Steve says this CCR song was one of his favorites, too.
So from my mom, to my late Uncle Tom, to all those crazy partiers over at Reed’s Beach who have kindly donated to my cause, today I climb for you. I’ll be heading to Kilimanjaro in a few weeks, but I hope to see you guys again soon. Love and miss you all!
“The most frustrated I got the whole day was when I would go and I’d look up and see how far I’d have to go, instead of looking back and seeing how far we’d come.”—Kyle Maynard, a congenital amputee who was chronicled by ESPN during his summit of Mount Kilimanjaro. He talks about gaining greater perspective as a result of the climb.