Survivor Summit is a LIVESTRONG partnered event that exists to provide inspiration, motivation and hope for those among us facing uphill battles. Formed by brothers intent on making a difference, we hope that you will be inspired to join. Please visit www.survivorsummit.org to learn more about our Kilimanjaro Expedition, “What’s your Summit?” challenge, and Honor Flag. Net proceeds support LIVESTRONG. The following blog is by Mike King, a member of the Young Leaders Cancer Council and President of Survivor Summit.
In 2011, my brothers and I rode a leisurely 10 miles in the Philadelphia LIVESTRONG Challenge with our recently diagnosed and new to cycling dad. Along the way, we were passed by a gentleman whose bib stated that “cancer took my lung, but it can’t take my heart”. For about 6 seconds, I’m pretty sure that my Dad and his beach cruiser could have competed in the Tour de France. Inspiration comes at different times and in many ways. When spending time among the LIVESTRONG community, it’s hard to miss.
It was the culmination of inspiring and hope filled experiences such as this that led this group of brothers to start Survivor Summit. We started Survivor Summit with the intention of offering survivors and their supporters the opportunity to take on new and different challenges. Since inception, we’ve had LIVESTRONG supporters from 77 countries come to our website and learn about our mission and events. This response is astounding, and each visitor brings their own story.
Danny Shoemaker is a participant in this year’s Expedition to Mount Kilimanjaro. His first email to us said it better than we ever could:
“I’m 57 yrs old. In late 2005, my wife of 25 years and my mom died from cancer within 2 months of each other. I was devastated. Currently, one of my sons and my girlfriend are both cancer survivors. I love what LIVESTRONG is doing. I’ve worn the LIVESTRONG bracelet continuously since the summer of 2005 and will continue to until we find the cure or the day I die. If you accept me, this will transform my typically mundane life into a time of total excitement and passion. I look forward to reaching this summit with my fellow LIVESTRONG supporters.”
Danny has since joined a gym, climbs the towering stairwell in his office once a day, and is on his way to raising thousands for the LIVESTRONG mission. Danny is climbing to honor loved ones that have dealt with cancer, as well as support the ongoing mission of LIVESTRONG. In the meantime, by accepting this challenge, Danny is forever changing his life. We can’t wait to show you a picture of Danny at 19,341 feet. Support Danny or other climbers here.
Kiley, a participant in our “What’s Your Summit”, is a 7 year old from Chicago. She heard about Survivor Summit from her parents. Like most, cancer has touched her family, and while she may not be ready to climb Kilimanjaro, she asked her parents how she could help. Since then, she set a goal to read 600 minutes in a month, and is asking friends and family to sponsor her. In addition, Kiley and her family are now working with her school Principal to have other students join her in setting goals and raising funds. Inspiration has no age limit.
As for our Dad, he underwent a surgical procedure and is doing well. When our Expedition team reaches the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, his name, along with the others on the Honor Flag, will have their names proudly presented at the summit of the world’s tallest freestanding mountain. Following our trip that flag will fly in LIVESTRONG headquarters for 1 year, where he will see it prior to going for 40 miles in the 2012 LIVESTRONG Challenge… by then who knows, he might even have a bike with gears.
If you are interested in joining us in any of these events we would love to have you. If you believe strongly in the LIVESTRONG mission, we urge you to take action in one of the many opportunities that LIVESTRONG provides, or if you prefer, create your own!