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How Lucky Am I?

April 8, 2013
Girl Power on Mt. Shasta, May 2010

Climb to Fight Chair Carol Roll, Lisa Carlson and author Karen Kilian making CLIMB’s inaugural trip on Mt. Shasta 2010.

The other day, I was waiting at the bus stop and watched an older gentleman tap tap tap his way to the stop.  He was using the white cane to find his way and it was amazing to watch.  I admired his tenacity as I’m not sure I would have the strength to tap tap tap my way in a busy, noisy tunnel to my bus stop.  Buses came; he would inquire as to the number, and wait.  I finally went up to him to ask what bus he was waiting for, it turned out to be my bus as well.  We got on together and I sat with him for the ride.  He explained he was on his way to a computer store and would have to take a few more buses to get there.  He was legally blind with a problem called Retinitis Pigmentosa—a condition that is not curable.  He was optimistic, bold, and confident.

When I was in Nepal a few years ago trekking to Everest Base Camp, my group happened to be in back of Erik Weihenmayer; a blind climber who made it to the top of Everest on that trip.  Watching him ascend the trails with one hand on the shoulder of a fellow climber and a trekking pole in the other was fascinating.  All the rocks, roots and unevenness of the trail didn’t seem to faze him one bit.  Once again, in the face of adversity….optimism, boldness, and confidence.

A friend of mine is undergoing vicious chemotherapy in a bid to control the breast cancer that has invaded her body for many, many years.  I was sick for a month with a nasty cold that turned into sinusitis. Then out of nowhere a 24-hour bug with fever and chills hit me.  One month.  I was exhausted.  The two blind men and my friend are dealing with lifelong issues.  I had one month of illness.  Sure puts everything into perspective.

If Erik can climb Mt Everest, if a legally blind man can find his way from downtown Seattle to a computer store in a distant mall, if my friend can go through the challenges of chemotherapy, then surely I can climb a mountain in an effort to help others.  After all, I’m pretty lucky.  I have my vision, my health, optimism, boldness and confidence.  I bet you do too…..Come join us….Climb a Mountain. Save a Life.

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