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Climbing the World to End Alzheimer's
Jun 262014
 

K2 CauseAfter 6 months of training and preparation, I leave today for K2. I feel as prepared as I ever have for a serious climb but I know K2 will test me both physically and mentally more than any other mountain I have attempted.

I have researched the route,  understand the issues and have my mind 100% prepared to do my . But there will be surprises, and I’m ready to deal with those as well.

The build up to my departure has been exciting but now is the time to double down. As I climb, I am asking your help to support the cause. Take advantage of what I’m doing to talk about Alzheimer’s, to ask for donations – please use me!

What we are doing is extremely unique in the world of fund raising, and mountaineering. K2 is rarely climbed by people like me, and when it is climbed it is the domain of professional climbers trying to make their mark in the climbing world – not for a cause.

Yes, I want to summit K2 and will do everything I can to meet that objective safely but this is about the cause, not the climb.

Preparations

I wanted to prepare myself in three areas: physically, mentally and emotionally with an overall objective of being as self sufficient on the mountain as I possibly can be.

My physical training has exceeded anything I’ve done for previous climbs. Since January 1, 2014, I have been on 58 outings ranging from 4 hour hikes to 16 hour technical climbs. I summited 15 of my Colorado 14,000 foot mountains, many in difficult winter conditions. I averaged about three outing each week carrying a 20 to 30 pound pack each time.

On each outing, I visualized myself on K2, knowing the real climb would make whatever I was doing at that moment look tame. Often climbing in the dark, or in strong winds or deep snow, I would embrace each obstacle as an opportunity to focus my mind on a positive outcome.

Back home, I often thought deeply about my goal, my purpose, my mom and the million of people impacted by Alzheimer’s. It gave me strength. I gave myself permission to feel whatever came to me in the moment, the challenges of life, the victories, the shortfalls; to accept that there are many life events outside of my control, all I can do is manage my reaction. It will be the same on K2.

Why

Many of you are following me for the climb, and I genuinely appreciate your support. Others follow me to support the cause, and you know how I feel about you.

Whatever your reason, I hope you learn about Alzheimer’s – that there is no ment, the impact on families and caregivers often goes unnoticed by others, research is severely underfunded, that Alzheimer’s is fatal.

One in four who summit K2 die, thus there is a statistical chance I will not make it. But if I get Alzheimer’s, there is a 100% chance I will die from it never remembering I attempted K2.

While I climb, I hope you consider a donation to one of the non-profits. I mean this sincerely, any amount that is meaningful to you is meaningful to me – $5, $50, $500 or more – every cent goes to the cause.

Yes, 100% of your donation goes to fund solutions and support around Alzheimer’s – nothing ever to me or to the overhead of these two non-profits: UsAgainstAlzheimer’s and Cure Alzheimer’s Fund.

Button-Join-Fight-sm

Updates

I will be blogging to this site frequently during the climb. I’ll try to put links on Facebook and Twitter but the content will be at this link.

I will post my thoughts, talk about the experience, the climb and post pictures and videos to bring you into my world.  And in every post, I will ask for donations – not to be a pest but to remind every reader, new or old, that this is about the cause, not the climb.

Studies have shown people need to be asked 18 times before they give – so if I have asked you already 18 times, it’s time; if not please keep count and have your credit card ready 🙂 But in all seriousness, I need you to lead by making a donation today, not tomorrow, it will encourage others to join the fight. Please be a leader.

Who

Let me close with these thoughts …

I’ll never forget the day my mom didn’t recognize me due to Alzheimer’s disease, it changed my life forever. It provided me a new life purpose of advocacy using my mountain climbing passion as the vehicle. To that end, I am pleased to have reached millions around the world with a message of hope, need and urgency.

Every time I left home for a new climb, I accepted the risks knowing the benefits to the cause were larger than one individual. However by climbing the earth’s largest mountains, I knew we could reach people who otherwise would never learn about Alzheimer’s perhaps until it was too late. Also we could raise money and make a difference that honored my mom, aunts and millions around the world impacted by this disease.

My sincere desire has always been to be remembered more for doing everything I could to find a cure for Alzheimer’s and improve the support for caregivers than as a mountain climber. Please give generously, help me help you and most importantly help the next generation never see another life lost to Alzheimer’s disease.

Climb On!
Alan
Memories are Everything

Climbing K2 to cure Alzheimer’s from Abila on Vimeo.

  9 Responses to “K2: Departing Thoughts”

  1.  

    Good luck Alan. I look forward to hearing about your experience on K2 through your posts. Your dedication to your cause and your climb is impressive. I hope you have safe travels and great weather.

  2.  

    All the best Alan,

    My wife my daughters (4,2) and I are putting our heads together to come up with some dough for a great cause. We are all behind you 100% and will bring you, your family and Kami before our lord Jesus each night.

    I’d be lying if i didn’t say i wasn’t scared for you, but i guess that’s why you have climbed the 8000’ers you have and I have only struggled to the summit of one of the 7(+1) summits (Mt Kosciusko) 😉 Hehe!

    As a mental health nurse here in Australia who helps peopple recover from severe mental Illness, i was shocked 5 years ago when i met a wonderful man aged 42 with a beautiful wife and 3 kids, who had just been diagnosed with early onset alzheimers. Over the next 3 years I cried many times as his cognitive state slowly but assuredly declined helpless to use any of my traditional skills to arrest his slide into recovery. Its the hardest thing i’ve ever had to do professionally. I see him and his family around town still but how their life has changed.

    You climb with courage my man.

  3.  

    sorry everyone. here’s a re-do of an incomplete post which lost all it’s snips [I hate technology some days]

    Alan, first I want to wish you the best of luck.. and tell you my thoughts will be with you the whole time… and then the ASK… please come home to us!!!.. be safe.. be careful…yet enjoy yourself.. and send us all kind of your fantastic (as always) post…

    To everyone else that reads Alan’s blog,

    I’ve been lurker on this sight for a couple years.. I read everything he writes and everything the responders write as well.. and when he announced his K2 adventure in his blog on April 24th titled “Everest 2014:Everest Nepal Functionally Closed”.. even with so much sadness in the air.. I was moved to comment for the first time

    here’s a snip of that post… Apr 24 2014, 7:14pm

    “The main reason I’m writing (as opposed to the lurking I usually do) is that YOU have moved me to make a donation in your name to your Alzheimer research…[…].. but this time I’m putting it out there… loud and proud… to all you other lurkers and climbers as a challenge…..” Come on everyone… Alan does so much for us… Let’s do something for him to show our appreciation…

    assuming this post got lost in the shuffle (which is understandable giving everything going on)… I’m re-posting it’s intent now…

    so the challenge I put out there on the Apr 24th was a two part match challenge.. the first part… was for EVERYONE to give much as you could to Alzheimer’s research in his name to show our support for what he does (is doing) for us…. the second part of the challenge was to commit to MATCHING your first donation with another of the same amount when he comes home to us safely (notice I don’t say on “summit”)..

    so I’m saying again…

    “I’ve just donated $500 in his name to Alzheimer research and will donate another $500 after his K2 trip (as I need time to save the $ for the second donation)… so there it is… Let’s do something for a really incredible man that is doing something amazing for us… I challenge everyone who reads this note and his blog to dig deep for your their first donation and sacrifice to get to your match goal… Alan’s climbing mountains for us…we can skip a few lattes (or meals) for him… let’s show him how much we care and appreciate him

    HE’S COMMITED.. ARE YOU?

    N

  4.  

    Alan, first I want to wish you the best of luck.. and tell you my thoughts will be with you the whole time… and then the ASK… please come home to us!!!.. be safe.. be careful…yet enjoy yourself.. and send us all kind of your fantastic (as always) post…

    To everyone else that reads Alan’s blog,

    I’ve been lurker on this sight for a couple years.. I read everything he writes and everything the responders write as well.. and when he announced his K2 adventure in his blog on April 24th titled “Everest 2014:Everest Nepal Functionally Closed”.. even with so much sadness in the air.. I was moved to comment for the first time

    here’s a of that post… Apr 24 2014, 7:14pm

    assuming this post got lost in the shuffle (which is understandable giving everything going on)… I’m re-posting it’s intent now…

    so the challenge I put out there on the Apr 24th was a two part match challenge.. the first part… was for EVERYONE to give much as you could to Alzheimer’s research in his name to show our support for what he does (is doing) for us…. the second part of the challenge was to commit to MATCHING your first donation with another of the same amount when he comes home to us safely (notice I don’t say on “summit”)..

    so I’m saying again…

    snip

    HE’S COMMITED.. ARE YOU?

    N

  5.  

    Good luck!!

  6.  

    Concentrate on your climb now Alan. We really appreciate what you are doing and your sharing it all with us. But you need to put everything into your climb and make sensible decisions as you go on. I am sure you will do this. We all want you to come back in one piece – that is what is really important! Enjoy your experience.

  7.  

    Right on!

  8.  

    Alan, you have been an inspiration to me and to many others to pick up this sport. Above all you have brought to my attention the awareness of the plight of many people as they struggle with Alzheimer’s. I wish you all the best in your endeavour and I will be praying to God for your success and safe return. Climb on! Maury.

  9.  

    Alan, your dedication to climbing is impressive, and your complete dedication to beating Alzheimer’s is even more impressive. Your actions have inspired many people to donate, and even more will donate now. Everyone – let’s step up and support this great effort. Safety and success to you Alan!