175 Miles in 7 Days! Hiking throughout America to battle childhood cancer
If your reading this, it’s because you already know you want to make a difference- why else check out a page dedicated to battling childhood cancer. So now the question is how do you make a difference?
From here there are 2 ways: 1) email me directly @ firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss becoming a hiker and joining me on one of hikes below, or 2) make a donation to support my 2022 mission and let me do all the hard work. And I will not lie, hiking up to 28 miles in 1 day is hard work – but worth it! (note: there is a $2,500 fundraising commitment per hike)
Lower in this page is how I became involved with CureSearch, but first a little background for 2022. Since 2019, I have participated in singular Ultimate Hikes. However, this year my mission is to hike across America and participate in all 7 CureSearch Ultimate Hikes (the average length is 26 miles in 1 day)! The purpose of these hikes is to raise funds to support childhood cancer research trials. See the line-up below.
As people hear about this undertaking, the typical knee-jerk reaction is, "That's a lot of hiking!" followed with “Why?” Yes, hiking up to 28 miles in one day is a lot. However, answering the ‘why’ is easy. If you ever sit down with parents who have lost a child to cancer, listened to their stories, and hear how passionate they are about supporting CureSearch so other parents don’t have to go through what they did, you know right away that you too can contribute in one way or another – whether it be your time, your donations, or your platform.
- Cancer is the #1 cause of death by disease in children in the US
- Every year, over 17,000 kids in the US will be diagnosed with cancer
- Due to the toxicity of treatments, 2 out of 3 survivors will develop at least 1 chronic health condition
- Nearly 60% of childhood cancer survivors experience sever or lifethreatening complications in adulthood
- Most current standard treatments for pediatric cancer were approved before 1990
- On average, clinical trials for children begin 6.5 years after adult trials
The money donated will support CureSearch for Children's Cancer, a national non-profit foundation whose mission is to fund and support targeted and innovative children's cancer research, with measurable results. CureSearch is the bridge between Federal Funding and Pharmaceutical Funding. Without organizations like CureSearch, many trials will never get off the ground. To learn more about the real impact CureSearch is making, visit www.curesearch.org/seetheimpact.
And please know that all donations made goes directly to CureSearch, not to myself nor to cover any travel expenses. Every single penny I raise is 100% for helping the kids and providing resources to their families.
Ultimate Hike 2022 Itinerary:
Lake Georgetown, Texas (28 miles) - March 5, 2022
- 1,654 ft Elevation gain / Time: 9:50 / Steps 58,901
Foothills Trail, Georgia/South Carolina (28.3 miles) - April 23, 2022
- 3,694 ft Elevation gain / Time 15:35 / Steps: 68,627
Shenandoah Valley, Virginia (21 miles) - May 14, 2022
- 2,808 ft Elevation gain / Time 9:05 / Steps: 50,046 / *22.9 miles. yes, I added 2 extra miles due to missing a turn :)
Pacific Crest Trail, California (27 miles) - June 25, 2022
- 3,622 ft Elevation gain / Time: 10:37 / Steps: 65,509 / 29.2 miles. no missing turns this time, it just ended up being 29 :)
Superior Hiking Trail, Minnesota (25.5 miles) - August 13, 2022
Ozark Highland Trail, Arkansas (22 miles) - October 15, 2022
Southeast Foothills Trail, South Carolina (23.6 miles) - November 12, 2022
If you'd like to join me on the trail, please feel free to reach out to me or get more information at www.ultimatehike.org.
For those who don't know, here is how I became connected with CureSearch, and why I continue to hike each year.
On April 20th. 2019, I was at a friend’s house socializing with a few other couples. One lady went out the front door and cried out in pain. Come to find, she had stepped wrong and sprained her ankle. She was visibly upset – but it was not 100% from the pain. She was registered for a 28.3 mile hike the very next weekend to raise funds for childhood cancer research. She clearly was not hiking.
I volunteered on the spot to hike in her place. I really had nothing special going on, and it seemed like a great opportunity. Obviously more than 7 days training would have been nice to get ready for 28+ miles – but hey sometimes you just have to suck it up.
New to the event, I was not sure what to expect. The night before the hike was my first eye opener. There was a dinner for all involved (hikers, volunteers, and support staff) and everyone stood up and shared why they were hiking. My story was easy – just found out about the hike the prior weekend, and am hiking in place of a friend who couldn’t. Come to find, I was only 1 of a handful of people in the room who had not been impacted by childhood cancer. Hearing the others share their stories about their children they lost to cancer, those in remission, and those still in the fight was pretty surreal.
The hike itself was also like no other I had been on. The shared bond between everyone, the camaraderie and encouragement for one another was unbelievable. Some folks knew they were not going to complete the entire hike, but they were going to push through till they absolutely could not go any further. Some had hiked this for many years, and had created bonds with other hikers as if they were family.
The one part of the hike I will never forget was the last few miles. For the entire hike, the group I was with was jovial, fun, crap-talking, and high spirited – even as 1 was throwing up, and another had to ditch her pack. As you near the end, pictures start showing up on the trail of children whom the parents/siblings were hiking in honor of. Knowing that at some point we were going to come across the kids they were hiking for, the mood started to become more serious. It was not hard to dig in and find the intestinal fortitude to drive on and finish strong.
At the finish line, the spirits again changed. We were all back to being light hearted, and more than grateful it was over. I knew at that very moment, this was something I needed to do every year.
It is so inspiring to hear how many clinical trials are funded by CureSearch, and also finding out that some of the trials are already in practice and helping kids who are battling all different types of cancers. However, this is only possible with your support. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I greatly appreciate any donations made to this great cause.
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