I love hiking. Unfortunately, I do not go on hikes very often, especially because Eamonn cannot join me. But, for the past several years I have found a hiking buddy in my dad. Every summer we enjoy our annual hike together—the first year we took on Mt. Monadnock in New Hampshire, in the beginning of June on a record-high over 90-degree sunny day. The following number of hikes were less challenging, including one that was a rainy walk at Quabbin Revervoir, joined by countless mosquitoes. This past summer, with Abby joining us, we took on Mt. Monadnock yet again. I will admit, I was reluctant, feeling that I was not in good physical shape, but my dad was persistent (some might say stubborn) and we did it.
This summer I can say with complete confidence will be our most challenging hike to date, and possibly ever. My dad and I are participating in the 2nd annual Cystic Fibrosis Xtreme Hike at Jiminy Peak in Western Massachusetts. We will be hiking 25+ miles of the Taconic Crest Trail, covering three states: Vermont, New York, and Massachusetts. And yes, we will complete this in one day. Are we crazy? Maybe. But most importantly we’re dedicated to CF research, and we’re excited to be a part of the CF Foundation and community and all it is doing to provide a future and hope for CF patients and families.
In previous blog posts I have mentioned my frustration with not being able to make Eamonn healthier—I’d give him my lungs if I could (at least one), I’d do his drugs for him or his twice-daily therapy. Other than being supportive and loving, there is not much I can do to make him better. As a loved-one of someone with a disease, that is far and away the biggest challenge. I have never been one to enjoy sitting on the sidelines, and I certainly like being in control. ?????
The Xtreme Hike is my way of kicking CF’s ass, as cliché as that is. Hiking 25 miles will be physically strenuous and challenging for me both physically and mentally. Already I am doubting myself–whether I can train appropriately, get into good enough shape, and hike for 12-14 hours in one day in June. Will it be hard? Of course. Can I do it? I hope so! When I do start to doubt myself, or when I think I can’t go one more mile, I will think of Eamonn. He is what keeps me going everyday, and on June 22nd he will have to just push me a little more.
I made a commitment to train and push my physical limits for the next three months. Eamonn has been doing that for 29 years and not because he chooses to. I may not be able to destroy CF or undo its damage, but I sure as hell can challenge its determination to take us down and I can promise it won’t. Together, my dad and I will walk for Eamonn because…we can. And we are crazy.
Now it’s your turn. Please support my dad and me by donating to our hiking efforts by clicking here. Our goal is to raise a combined $5,000 and all of the money will go to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in continued support for the incredible research they have done and are doing to find a cure for CF. If you prefer to send a check please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for my mailing address.
In case you are wondering, we are also participating in the Great Strides CF Walk on May 19, 2013 in Boston. Our hope is to raise funds together, as a team effort, but that you will also walk with us and join our CF family! To donate to our walk team, Rock-It Lungs, and to start your own fundraising click here.
I cannot thank you all enough for the continued support. I know I have said it plenty of times before, but your love and encouragement never goes unnoticed and unappreciated. It is our family, friends, and community that gives us strength, so from the very bottom of my heart, thank you, thank you, thank you.