My name is Lisa. I’m a Penn State (undergraduate) and University of Texas (graduate school) alumna. I’m an active person and I like eating healthy foods, although I have a big weak spot for chocolate. I love riding my bike, creating art, drinking craft beer, running, hiking, being outside, going to museums, and volunteering—specifically, you could say that I’m a big supporter of causes that fund cancer research and programs. I had my first taste of engaging in this good cause when I did a bike-a-thon for St. Jude’s in fourth grade, and I’ve loved service ever since. In 2007, I stood without sleep for 46 hours in Penn State’s Dance MaraTHON to raise money for the Four Diamonds Fund, which benefits families fighting pediatric cancer out of Hershey Medical Center. And in 2009, I rode my bicycle 4,500 miles from Texas to Alaska to fight cancer with a wonderful non-profit organization called Texas 4000 for Cancer.
Since sending out 100-some-odd letters, launching my fundraising page by email, and creating posts on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+, I’ve been raising a lot of money to meet my minimum fundraising requirement (which goes to support cancer programs and services at LIVESTRONG)…
…Hence, I’ve started this blog to get the word out about cancer awareness, and to keep in touch with the incredible people who have supported me with kind words and generous donations so far.
I’ve had a little blogging experience before with Texas 4000. While I was, at first, pretty hesitant to put my thoughts out in the open on the internet, blogging actually became pretty fun. I know my friends and my family were happy to keep an eye on me, and it also served as a way for me to reveal some small sense of what I was going through during the ride, for example: I’d battle extreme weather and even more extreme emotions (like zipping down graded hills and hitting almost 50 miles per hour on my bike—that was definitely a high; and putting my sore muscles back on my bike saddle only to get rained on for four hours—obviously, that was a bit of a low, but I got through it!). I’d also meet a range of amazingly kind people who helped our group make the journey north. So, the experience of blogging, as a means to stay in touch with my supporters, was definitely a good one.
This time around, I had to create my own blog and I came up with the name for it keeping two things in mind:
1. Well, Kilimanjaro is kind of high in elevation. “Elevated” is a play on that.
2. The word also conveys a sense of being uplifted and happy, and I’m both. Seriously: volunteering and service activities make me a little giddy. I mean, I don’t think I can complain about life when I get the chance to do something as cool as climb the tallest freestanding mountain in the world to honor so many stories of cancer fighting and survival—from friends, family, loved ones, and strangers; you all inspire me to climb.
That’s the long and short of it. I’m embarking on a crazy adventure and maintaining this here little blog to raise awareness and keep in touch. And if it means I can fundraise more money to fight cancer, too, then I’m all for being out in the open. So please spread the word around, reblog my posts as much as your heart desires, and help me climb Kili for an amazing cause…
…AN UPDATE AS OF AUGUST 2012:
Guess what? I made it! I summitted Kilimanjaro on July 2, 2012, and my teammates and I raised over $230,000 for cancer programs and services at LIVESTRONG! We were inspired to climb by so many amazing people and stories, and the good thoughts, support, and kind words all helped us make it to the summit, where it was a balmy -35 degrees Fahrenheit.
As I begin to readjust to life after climbing a 19,341 foot mountain, I’m still trying to figure out if I want to keep blogging, or close this chapter of my life. I’m thinking the former—especially because I have big plans: after making it to the roof of Africa, I’m trying to assess if I’m ready to run a marathon, paddle 21 miles, or do some other cool things, too, all in the name of fighting against cancer, and elevating my outlook on life. I want to expand my ability to contribute to society as a healthier, happier, and better person; what better way to do it than to share positive things online with others?
So, please keep up with me on this blog to find out what I’m up to next. Time will only tell, but I hope to keep growing as a person and making the best of any challenges life may throw my way. Stay tuned!