The Survivor Series
Mark Green on Mt. Moosilauke – with the Kilimanjaro Team
4,802 ft. 8 miles
The Prouty Mountaineering Program
(the first Prouty Challenge Event benefitting Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center)
October 21, 2012
The Prouty Mountaineering Program is dedicated to people dealing with cancer – patients, care providers, families and friends. This is the first in a series of blogs about cancer survivors who come out to celebrate being alive, climbing in the mountains of New Hampshire and Vermont. The survivor series is about a very special group – cancer survivors sharing their stories and a day hiking with us in the Hills.
Mark Green on the Summit of Moosilauke
Once in a while you bump into somebody who seems absolutely determined to make the most of every moment – and that is what Mark Green is all about. As best I can determine, this is what he has always been about – this guy is the walking epitome of carpe diem. Mark was diagnosed with stage 3 brain cancer – an anaplastic ependymoma actually – about 18 months ago.
Among other things, Mark is a terrific writer with a very active blog in which he gives a detailed account of the initial seizures and related symptoms of the disease, http://moosevt.wordpress.com. While the tale is both awful and gripping, I loved the metaphor of cancer coming into his life, “Imagine sitting peacefully in your kitchen eating breakfast when, without warning, a locomotive train plows through your home. You are still sitting there, bowl of cereal before you, and you sit bewildered as the debris from the destruction swirls around you. It’s been like that.”
Hannah Green on Moosilauke
Mark is the dedicated and proud (justifiably) father of Hannah Green, a wonderful young woman who joined us for a trip up Moosilauke a few weeks ago. Hannah was raising money for the Prouty to join us on Kilimanjaro next year. I got a chance to meet Mark briefly when he picked up Hannah after that hike, and I jumped at the chance to kick off the Survivor series with Mark. Joining us on the hike were Jill and Gary Rogers (just coming off knee issues), and Rick Morse – another Kilimanjaro team member this year.
Wes and Rick Morse enjoying the breeze at the summit
Mark’s journey began with the removal of a 4.26 cm sized mass from his brain in August of last year, followed by several courses of radiation therapy (two words which for me still fit rather uncomfortably juxtaposed). The seizures that characterized the untreated cancer have abated in frequency and scope, but still occur enough that an 8 mile hike up the wet rocks of the Glen Cliff Trail presented a bit of a worry. It was great having Rick Morse along – he is an MD – but given that his interventional specialty is prostate biopsies, we were all very grateful that our hike did not generate any need any medical intervention.
It is not often that I bring someone to the cold, windy and cloudy summit of one of the White Mountains – and see such raw joy. From my perspective, there is something wonderful about accomplishing a very difficult – and a little dangerous – in the outdoors. It’s all about life in the moment. On the way back down, Mark described how he loved to push himself right to the limit – and he sure did on Sunday. The hike is over 3,000 vertical feet over tough, steep terrain and is a good day hike for anybody – not to mention someone recently diagnosed and treated for brain cancer.
Gary and Jill Rogers on the summit with a ribbon for Audrey Prouty
Mark has made his career in education, having had a bit of a peripatetic career as a teacher and development officer in schools along the Connecticut River Valley – with an interesting jog out to Arizona for a few years. He’s been successful in these endeavors, largely because he’s a natural at connecting with people. On the way down the Hill we all practiced the delivery of jokes – most off-color – to the delight and horror of all involved. It was a lot of fun. The Prouty Mountaineering Program is all about the people, and it was a real pleasure getting to know Mark Green.
The team at the end of the hike
I have the privilege of leading a team of climbers – including a number of cancer survivors – up Mt Kilimanjaro this December. If you have someone that you would like to honor at the top of Kilimanjaro, please let me know who, how you would like them honored, and especially if mountains and natural beauty were important to them – to do this job right, it really helps to know the story (send to email@example.com). If you want to donate directly, please see the Prouty page at http://reachforthepeaks.kintera.org/faf/search/searchTeamPart.asp?ievent=1019697&team=5181015.
Please make a donation as you see fit – all amounts great and small are really appreciated. Anything that we can do to support people in active treatment we will try to accomplish – signs, poems songs – you name it. Amazingly, there is good cell service on areas of the mountain and we will get photos, audio and video out for the support of patients in active treatment ASAP.
In the meantime, if you would like to come along on a Prouty prep hike, just drop me a line at the email above – we are out almost every weekend, and we really enjoy meeting new climbers.
Remember, it’s all about people.
All the Best from Kilimanjaro