Today, I climb for Danny Shoemaker, one of my Survivor Summit teammates.
A few silly things that everyone should know about Danny:
- He LOVES the St. Louis Cardinals.
- He has a dog named Milkshake (isn’t that a cool name for a dog?).
- He was our oldest participant on the climb, but you wouldn’t know it, because he acts like a big kid.
- I’ve never seen anyone look so awesome with white sunscreen applied to their face.
- He may or may not have known that tents have interior pockets where you can stow things.
- We might have pretended that it was his birthday on our one-night, July 4 stay at the Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge. He got a cake out of the deal, as well as the staff to sing him a song. He was a good sport the whole time.
- When we got back from the trip, Danny serenaded my teammates and I with a “Call Me Maybe” parody video. He even wore his headlamp. We’re supposed to add our own clips to it, but I think his version is pristine as is.
And now, in all seriousness, it’s time for more things to know about this amazing person:
- Several years ago, Danny lost his wife and his mom to cancer within months of one another. One day, while hiking with him, I asked him how he and his late wife, Susan, met. He told me the story, and discussed her six battles with cancer. After that day, I’d see Danny all ready to go in the morning, and I’d know wholeheartedly that he was doing this climb to honor her and her three children.
- He raised over $15,000 for LIVESTRONG in the same manner the tortoise beat the hare; slow and steady, and never wavering. He always gave a shoutout to other members of our team when they hit their goals. He is such a team player.
- Danny’s not a camper, nor is he a mountaineer. But he dedicated himself to this expedition completely. I’d watch his updates online before we met, and he was completely cognizant of how much time he needed to spend working out in order to climb Kilimanjaro. He’d go to the gym, climb stairs at work, and use a ball to increase his balance. He trained so hard for this adventure, and as a result, he got in shape, lost weight, and did great on the mountain. He truly lives strong.
I could go on and on, but I think it’s that last point that really taught me something; it’s important to “show up,” to find something you’re passionate about, and to give it your all.
Danny showed me the value in dedicating oneself to a good cause. So, many thanks to Danny for helping me understand this great lesson! And thanks for such a fun climb, too! Today, I climb for Danny.