The 7 Summits Climb for Alzheimer’s: Memories are Everything:
On behalf of Alzheimer’s individuals, their caregivers and families, I am raising $1M for Alzheimer’s research and general awareness. The first phase was through climbing the 7 Summits in one year. These are the highest peak on each of the 7 continents. You can read about climbs with updates I posted on my blog directly during each expedition.
Today, we are continuing and you are invited to help with a fund raising event or by making a donation today. Together we can make a world without Alzheimer’s.
None of the donations go to Alan, climbing expenses or to any supporters. I encourage you to read more about these selected organizations at their websites and donate today.
Hope, Need and Urgency for Alzheimer’s
The spending on Alzheimer’s research pales in comparison to that spent on cancer, heart disease and many other crippling diseases. Funding through the National Institutes of Health puts Alzheimer’s far behind at only $644 million in 2009 as compared to $5,654m for cancer and $1,033m for diabetes. Government spending on research is less then one penny for every dollar spent on care.
We must do more and do it now. Every 69 seconds another case of Alzheimer’s is diagnosed. My experience was that it cost more than $5,000 a month to care for an Alzheimer’s patient. With the baby boomer generation aging, the numbers will grow dramatically affecting 10 million during their lifetime. And Alzheimer’s knows no country boundaries.
100% of your donations will go directly to your choice of these three selected organizations. None of the donations go to Alan, climbing expenses or to any supporters. I encourage you to read more about these selected organizations at their websites and donate today.
The Cure Alzheimer’s Fund is a non-profit organization that raises money and directs targeted research. The Fund is supported by grants from three families and covers all of their overhead. This means of 100% of your donation goes directly to Alzheimer’s research.
The National Family Caregivers Association educates, supports, empowers and speaks up for the more than 65 million Americans who care for loved ones with a chronic illness or disability or the frailties of old age. NFCA reaches across the boundaries of diagnoses, relationships and life stages to help transform family caregivers’ lives by removing barriers to health and well being.
The Alzheimer’s Association is the world’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research, and the largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research. The Association’s vision is a world without Alzheimer’s®. Visit the Alzheimer’s Association to learn more.
The goal is to raise $1 million dollars as people follow the climbs and with after climb events. Remember all donations go directly to Alzheimer’s research and none to Alan or to support the climbs.
Here is how you can still help:
- Make a flat rate donation per summit, $100 for example
- Make a one time donation for all the climbs anytime.
- Host Alan for a local fund raiser where he will present the entire year of climbs with an engaging multimedia presentation.
Make a Pledge for the Climbs:
An easy and fun way to donate to Alzheimer’s research is by committing a small amount for every foot Alan climbed on the 7 Summits. If you donated one penny for Kilimanjaro as an example, you would donate $131 that goes only to Alzheimer’s research. It would only be $864 for all 8 climbs, probably less than you spend on coffee!!
|1||Vinson, Antarctica – 16,067’/4897mSummited on December 9, 2010Read about the climb||16,067||7,000||9,067||$91|
|2||Aconcagua, Argentina – 22,841’/6962mSummited on January 29, 2011Read about the climb||22,841||8,464||14,377||$144|
|3||Everest, Nepal – 29,035’/8850mSummited on May 21, 2011Read about the climb||29,035||9,400||19,635||$196|
|4||Denali, Alaska – 20,320’/6194m – July 201Stopped at 17,200 High Camp by hurricane windsRead about the climb||20,320||7,200||13,120||$131|
|5||Elbrus, Russia – 18,481’/5633mSummited on August 11, 2011Read about the climb||18,513||8,200||10,313||$103|
|6||Kilimanjaro, Africa – 19,340’/5896mSummited on September 19, 2011Read about the climb||19,340||5,363||13,977||$140|
|7||Carstensz Pyramid, New Guinea – 16,023’/4884mSummited on October 22, 2011Read about the climb||16,023||12,467||3,556||$36|
|8||Mt. Kosciuszko, Australia – 7,310’/2228mSummited on October 27, 2011Read about the climb.||7,310||6,026||1,284||$13|
You can read a brief overview of each mountain on my 7 Summits page.
Alan was born in Memphis, TN and now lives with his wife in Colorado. He took early retirement in 2007 after a 28 year career with Hewlett-Packard to oversee the care of his mom as she entered the final stages of Alzheimer’s and his dad passed away about the same time. At HP, he served in various roles but mostly in General Management positions including a 5 year assignment in Europe. He started climbing late in life at age 38 with Mont Blanc as his first big peak but went on to gain skills and experience through climbing on some of the highest mountains in the world including on Everest, Cho Oyu, Broad Peak, Ama Dablam, Aconcagua, Denali and more.
The Warning Signs
We started noticing my mother’s memories had slipped years ago. During the 2003 Christmas holiday, we went to a hotel for their famous brunch. As usual, we all got up to visit the buffet and indulge until we could no more. I noticed my Mom walking around aimlessly. As I went over to her, she seemed startled at my approach. “What do you want to eat?” I asked her gently. “Oh, you know; the usual,” was her noncommittal answer.
In spite of this warning sign, she and my dad continued their independent life for several more years, refusing to give up their independence in spite of our begging. As her memory grew worse, she mastered the technique of the elusive “throw-away” answer. My dad supported her deception either by design or by necessity.
Sitting across the table from her during breakfast, we chatted intently about Dad being in the hospital. I had to keep reminding her that he was not well and it was serious. In the midst of this serious talk, she looked at me with clarity in her eyes and simply asked, “Now, who are you again?”
In 2009 my mom continued to decline. She had trouble feeding herself and doing other daily activities. She no longer recognized or remembered anyone, and she had significant trouble forming words or creating sentences. Her mind continued to be devastated by this disease. Not only was her memory gone but almost all of her identity.
That said, I could still get her to laugh a little with a small joke and even over the phone, I could feel her smile. So she was always in there somewhere.
On August 16, 2009, she passed away.
What Could I Do?
As a result seeing the impact of Alzheimer’s on my mother, it became clear that I had to do something. So after taking early retirement, I have dedicated my life to raising money for Alzheimer’s disease through my climbing.
My dream is that researchers can find a way to stop or a cure for this killer of lives and robber of precious lifetime memories.
What Can You Do?
Please make a donation today. All donations go to the Alzheimer’s and none to my climbing so please act today. You can also help with fund raising today.
The Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program of Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy and Pfizer Inc. funded my climbs for the 7 Summits campaign so that 100% of your donations go directly to your choice of the selected organizations.
Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program
The Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program of Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy and Pfizer Inc. is an equal collaboration committed to researching and developing selective products for the treatment and/or prevention of neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Immunotherapy Program believes that it is possible to reduce the burden of disease through early intervention in the illness. It is dedicated to delivering comprehensive and integrated solutions that help address the needs of people impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. Its research focuses on the beta amyloid hypothesis. Scientific evidence supports the idea that preventing the accumulation and/or promoting the removal of beta-amyloid may have the potential to slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease and help preserve function in people with the disease. This theory is being tested in clinical trials.
Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy
Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy is researching, developing and commercializing selective products for the treatment and/or prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy is based in Dublin and has R&D facilities in South San Francisco.
Pfizer applies science and global resources to improve health and well-being at every stage of life. The company strives to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacturing of medicines for people and animals. That includes a diversified global health care portfolio of human and animal biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines, as well as nutritional products and many of the world’s best-known consumer products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with Pfizer’s responsibility as the world’s leading biopharmaceutical company, the corporation also collaborates with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for those in need. To learn more about Pfizer’s commitments, please visit www.pfizer.com.
I used professional guides for all the expeditions to ensure safety, success and give me time to focus on fund raising instead of logistics.
International Mountain Guides
International Mountain Guides directors Phil Ershler, George Dunn, Eric Simonson and Paul Baugher organize and lead climbing, trekking and mountaineering expeditions around the world, from the classic climbs of the Alps and Andes to the 8,000m peaks of the Himalayas. They are one of the most respected and active guiding companies in the world. Since 1986 they have conducted hundreds of expeditions to destinations around the globe. IMG was selected as one of the top 5 adventure tour operators by National Geographic Adventure Magazine in 2009. I climbed Cho Oyu with them and have known Eric Simonson for years. I had 100% summit success with IMG on Vinson, Aconcagua, Everest and Kilimanjaro.
Mountain Trip is a small company based in Ophir Colorado. They are one of only five authorized commercial guides for Denali from the National Park Service. Today they run international trips from Everest to Carstensz Pyramid to Vinson in Antarctica. I first climbed Denali in 2001 with Mountain Trip and used them for Denali and Carstensz Pyramid (summit).
I used AlpsIndustria out of Moscow for Elbrus and was on my own for Kosciuszko. I summited both.