I helped found Reach for the Peaks with a very simple concept – honoring people with cancer, supporting their care and funding research into the cure/amelioration of the dreadful family of diseases that we call cancer. The premise was simple, go climb mountains commensurate with the folks that we were honoring, and fly a yellow ribbon on the summit to support/honor them and their struggle.
Last year, when the Reach for the Peaks team climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, we brought over 60 yellow ribbons honoring cancer survivors, caregivers and those who had succumb to the disease to the top of Africa. We took photos of the ribbons and sent them to the honorees when we returned. Below is the thank-you note from Martha Hay who was suffering from pancreatic cancer regarding her yellow ribbon.
A ribbon for Martha Hay on Kilimanjaro
“Wes, I want to thank you for the very special gift you gave me by your recent climb of Mt Kilimanjaro.
When Jill sent me the picture of you holding a yellow ribbon with my name on it I was so touched that someone would think to do that with me in mind. It might well be the most meaningful gift anyone has ever given me.
When I was a girl we lived in Nairobi for a couple years where my father was involved in the Peace Corps. We regularly took rides into the Yngong Hills and looked upon the mountain as often as it would appear. It is very beautiful how it takes on different colors of the day and stands sentinel and proud for the East African people. Really, for all of us.
And so you climbed it with your crew and took my name and many others along with you for the ride!
Thank you so very much for your courageous and bold gift to me and to the many others who are daily living with cancer and facing it down.
I am certain that your effort has and will continue to aid my healing.
All the best to you and your crew. Keep Climbing!”
I learned from Martha what palliative effect yellow ribbons atop Kilimanjaro can have for those in the grip of cancer. If you’d like to honor someone with a yellow ribbon and support the Norris Cotton Cancer Center, make a donation of $250 or more and I’ll carry your honoree’s name to the Kilimanjaro summit the first week in 2014. Donations can be made here you will be prompted to add the name of your honoree at the bottom of the Donor Information page.)
If you are fortunate enough not to have any friends or family in cancer treatment, help me by honoring my friend Mark Green. Mark is a great guy suffering from late stage brain cancer (Mark Green Blog). His daughter, Hannah, is a terrific young lady – a senior in High School – and is joining us on the climb. Hannah is a tireless supporter of cancer research – trying to make a little sense of it all. All of the money that I raise will go to Hannah’s total – she’s raised around $5,500 of the $10,000 needed for the trip (Hannah’s Story).
Thank you for supporting Norris Cotton Cancer Center. Your contribution is greatly appreciated. Please click here to access my web page and make a donation
Adios, from the summit of Kilimanjaro