I¬†will be¬†climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in August 2011.¬† I dedicate my climb to my grandmother and to the fight against Alzheimer‚Äôs disease.¬† I‚Äôve teamed up with the Alzheimer‚Äôs Association in New York City in joint effort to raise awareness and money for this extraordinary cause.
I am staggered at the statistics, but it is likely that each of us will be impacted by this disease directly or indirectly at some point in our lives.¬† One in eight people aged 65 and older has Alzheimer‚Äôs disease and it is the 6th leading cause of death across all ages in the United States.¬† The number of Americans with Alzheimer‚Äôs disease will grow each year as the proportion of the U.S. population over age 65 continue to increase.¬† The number of cases will escalate rapidly in coming years as the baby boomer generation age ‚Äď the generation of my parents.
On a more personal level, my grandmother is currently battling the later stages of Alzheimer‚Äôs disease. It is devastating for my family to watch her mind corrode right before our eyes.¬†¬† It is sad and scary to see the disease change her personality, mood and her ability to care for herself.¬† She‚Äôs fortunate to have family around her and 24 hour care, but for many families, the cost of medical care could bankrupt them.
Why climb a high mountain? I draw many parallels between Alzheimer‚Äôs and climbing Kilimanjaro.¬† As I ascend higher in altitude, I will experience effects on my mind and body that are similar to Alzheimer‚Äôs symptoms where my cognition and coordination will deteriorate.¬† The challenge will become increasingly difficult as I climb higher, but the debilitating effects will remind and inspire me to be resolute in this process.
Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain and the 4th most prominent in the world, at 5,882 meters (19,298 feet) from the base.¬† The premise of Altitude for Memory is to raise a dollar for each meter I need to climb to¬†reach the summit.¬† My goal is to fundraise over $5,882 by August, and¬†my hope is to honor the families, friends, care takers, doctors, researchers, volunteers, advocates and those afflicted, by sharing in¬†their determination to fight the disease.¬† I will keep everyone updated on my progress as I train and fundraise.¬† I will¬†be hosting¬†fundraising events in New York City in the upcoming months, with more details to come.¬† Thank you all for your support and let us join together to find a cure!
Dear Friends and Family,
I’m hosting a fundraiser on May 25th (Wednesday)¬†at the Bowery Wine Company.¬†¬† Please come by for¬†drinks, live jazz music,¬†and¬†to support a¬†great cause!¬†¬†The ticket price is $40 for online¬†pre sale, $50 online sale, and $55 at the door.¬† The¬†ticket includes a¬†complimentary drink, live music and appetizers.¬†¬†Click on the¬†Purchase Tickets button to purchase tickets.¬† All proceeds will¬†be donated to¬†the¬†Alzheimer’s¬†Association of NYC.
I have to say that this was one of the most¬†rewarding experiences of my life.¬† The climb, as expected, was challenging and amazing, but¬†what was most substantial¬†for me in this whole experience¬†has been the support¬†from all of you¬†in raising money and awareness¬†to fight against Alzheimer’s.¬† Thank you for taking part in this¬†with me.
I climbed with 7 others and I’m happy to report that all 8 of us made it to Uhuru Peak the morning of¬†August 13th.¬† The assault to the summit¬†starting¬†at midnight of day five was more mentally challenging than anything else.¬† It was cold and dark, and for most of us, we were too anxious that day to¬†catch any sleep before the last ascent.¬† That said,¬†although our body said “NO”, we had¬†to get¬†our mind¬†to say “GO”, and¬†“GO”¬†we did.¬† We were all moving at a snail’s pace, and our guide¬†constantly reminded us to “pole pole” (slowly slowly) and¬†hydrate.¬† I have to say though that it was very¬†hard at that point to drink any fluids since our water supply started to chill and freeze.¬† Along the way, we passed by many¬†hikers who fell ill, particularly close to Gilman’s Point, which to most is the breaking point of the last hike.¬† As our team passed Gilman’s and reveled in our achievement for half a second, we¬†then realized that we were still 45 minutes away from Uhuru Peak.¬† As the sun came up, the sign¬†of the peak was¬†no where to be seen.¬†¬† After what felt like hours, I saw a small crowd of climbers and the sign emerged.¬† Although I wanted to take in every moment being at the top of the mountain, as my adrenaline depleted,¬†the cold and exhaustion really started to¬†set in¬†so I quickly¬†snapped my photo and started my descent.
This won’t be¬†my last mountain, so stay tuned…
My trek¬†is from August 8th to August 14th.¬† You can track the progress of¬†my climb ÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅhere under “Rongai Gate”: ÔĽŅÔĽŅ
You can also post¬†messages to our¬†Kili team and read messages sent from our team at: ÔĽŅwww.teamkilimanjaro.com/blog
Just click on the link that corresponds to my trek team, and it’ll take you to our team blog.¬† I’ll post my progress along the way and I’ll read messages from all of you.¬† 20 days to go….
Just came back from¬†a spectacular 4 day hike along the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.¬†¬†I went on the trip with two primary concerns, high altitude impact on my stamina and sleeping in freezing temperature.¬† I was able to combat the high altitude experience by drinking Coca tea which is the indigenous remedy,¬†and by taking Diamox for the majority of the trip.¬†¬†Much to my relief,¬†medicinal options are effective for me!¬†¬†I found that temperature management¬†was alot more difficult than I anticipated.¬†¬†In the evenings,¬†the temperature¬†dropped¬†down to the freezing point so¬†I ended up¬†wearing every piece of clothing I packed which¬†included¬†2 long sleeves,¬†4 t shirts, 2 tank tops, 1 ski jacket, 1 pair of sweat pants and leggings.¬† That comes out to 9 layers on top¬†and two layers¬†on the bottom.¬†¬† The bulk¬†of the layers gave me the¬†Staypuff Marshmellow man look,¬†but¬†it¬†got me¬†through¬†the nights¬†without turning into a popsicle. The lesson learned¬†is to invest in high quality thermo layers for Kilimanjaro.¬† I also tested out my hiking boots and¬†I’m glad I did because I¬†discovered that the boots¬†were not nearly as broken in as I thought.¬† I came back with abrasions around my ankles¬†so¬†now I’m¬†back to commuting to and from work in my hiking boots.
All in all, the Inca Trail was a good “stretch”.¬† The highest point reached was 4215 meters, about 1600 meters lower than the summit of Kilimanjaro.¬†¬† In summary, I’ve learned: 1) diamox works for me, 2) I can endure long hikes 3) I need to¬†pack warmer layers 4) my hiking boots are not broken in.
I’m about to embark on a stretch hike for five days¬†in Machu Picchu in the upcoming week.¬† Although¬†the altitude and conditions¬†are more moderate than Mt. Kilimanjaro, it¬†will certainly¬†be¬†a closer simulation than the cobblestone streets of the West Village.
I just want to thank¬†all the guests for¬†attending last night;¬†we¬†had¬†a great turn out! ¬†I hope¬†you¬†enjoyed the¬†evening as much as I did.¬†¬†Big thanks also to¬†Hillary, Kim, Heather and Danielle from the Alzheimer’s Association NYC for volunteering their time to help.
We¬†raised¬†nearly $3000¬†through the event¬†- thank you all!
It‚Äôs absolutely incredible that we‚Äôve exceeded the goal of the fundraiser in just under a month.¬† ¬†I‚Äôm so thankful for everyone‚Äôs support and generosity.¬† ¬†The campaign will continue on!
If you need to take a work break mid-week, please come out to the Jazz Night Fundraiser next Wednesday at Bowery Wine Company.
Dear Friends and Family,
I just wanted to thank everyone for your notes of encouragement, for sharing your own stories with me and for all¬†the¬†generous donations so far.¬†¬†¬†The project started only 19 days ago and¬†we’ve¬†raised $4,658 for the Alzheimer’s Association in such a short period of time.¬†¬†I am overwhelmed¬†and¬†immensely thankful for the the out pour of support.¬†¬†What ever the¬†final amount ends up to be,¬†your contribution¬†has been a great gesture of humanitarian compassion¬†that¬†moves us¬†steps closer to finding a cure.¬† Thank you again and let’s continue the campaign to end Alzheimer’s.
All the Best,