How Far Would You Go for a Cure?

About three years ago, I was sitting at my desk at work when a co-worker who knew I was into hiking dropped a postcard on my desk promoting the Extreme Hike for a Cure to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Intrigued, I read a little further. The program involved training for and doing a one-day, 30.1 mile hike on the Appalachian trail.

I am pretty sure my first reaction was ‘That’s crazy!’ The most I had ever hiked in one day was fourteen miles, and that nearly killed me. I discarded the postcard and didn’t think anymore of it.

A few months later, another co-worker sent me a fundraising email for her husband Neal. I had worked with Carey for a couple of years and knew she had health issues but didn’t know she had cystic fibrosis. I donated for Neal’s hike and told Carey that I might be interested in participating in the next one.

Carey did not forget, when it can time to register for the next one. I went to an information meeting at the Outdoor Provision company and met Dede Brand from the Cystic Fibrosis Chapter in Charlotte.

She talked about the origins of the event, four friends who decided to hike the Art Loeb Trail four years earlier to raise money and awareness for the CF Foundation. She also talked about the disease itself. How it affects the lungs and digestive systems of approximately 30,000 people, mostly children. I signed up on the spot.

I won’t lie. When I first signed up, it was mostly about challenging myself. Could I hike 30.1 miles in a day? Could I raise $3,000 for the CF Foundation? And the first time I did it was about answering those questions.

Now? I do it because the CF Foundation is a well run organization with amazing people. Ninety percent of all money raised goes to research and education.

I do it because if the friendships I have made with people who are personally affected by CF and are actively working towards finding a cure. I have made some amazing friendships with a bunch of crazy hikers.

I do it, because it is an amazing experience to watch others accomplish something they never thought possible.

I do it, because Lucy gets to come with me on many of the training hikes. She has become a bit of a mascot for the event.

I will be signing up for my fifth Xtreme Hike for a Cure next week, which has become a national event with over fourteen hikes across the country. I am proud to be a coach for this event, helping others try to reach new goals.

So do you want to join me? For those of you in the Charlotte area, there will be an Xtreme Happy Hour next Tuesday, November 19th at 6pm, at Dandelion Market uptown. Come meet past and future hikers and learn more about this amazing event. Registration forms will be available :). I hope to see you there!

Also, if you know any company that would be interested in sponsorship opportunities, please send them my way :).

Training hike at Linville Gorge

Lucy leading the group training hike at Linville Gorge, Fall 2012.

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