Endurance Athletes’ Raise Money and Hope for Alzheimer’s

This week’s blog focuses on a number of people who are combining their own personal passion with fundraising in support of the fight against Alzheimer’s.

A Walk to Remember

Fred Wolfe completed his eighth year hiking to Vail from Denver raising more than $280,000 and the funds are still coming in. Read more in the Denver Post and the Villager about Fred’s Walk and why he has continued this strenuous effort for the past eight years.

CEO Linda Mitchell with Fred Wolfe

Climbing for a Cause

I have to admit, I never really gave Alzheimer’s Disease a second thought. That is until I found out that my Grandmother had become a victim of this terrible disease. As I started to look into what Alzheimer’s was I began to realize that thousands of people across the country are touched in some way by AD- either people who have AD or family and friends who must stand hopelessly by as loved ones slowly lose their precious memories. Many of my friends were in the same position that I am and I had to do something about it.

This summer, I will be climbing 14 of Colorado’s 14,000-foot peaks in order to raise awareness about and money for Alzheimer’s Disease. But, as no one in this struggle is alone, I am asking people to join me on one, two, or any number of the climbs. I am climbing in dedication to my Grandma and my Aunt Theresa who has been by her side since the beginning of this struggle. I am asking anyone to join me- either by climbing or donating- and dedicate a summit to a loved one. If you can’t physically join me, send me a picture of you and the person you are dedicating the summit to, and I will make a poster collage and take a picture from the top of each peak. Climbing these peaks is a metaphor for the daily struggles of Alzheimer’s Disease, but this is also about showing that no one is alone in this struggle. We all have mountains to climb.

All donations go straight to the Alzheimer’s Association- nothing is used to finance a climb. For more information please go to 1414ersforalz.org or email me atKalsbeek.robin@gmail.com

Robin Kalsbeek

ALZ Stars Ryan Kushner & Robin Kalsbeek ran into each other in the middle of their climbs up Evans and Bierstadt

I climb because I love pushing myself to go for that next challenge. My grandparents always taught me that you can overcome anything with effort and the right mind set.

Why do I want to climb mountains? Fighting Alzheimer’s is extremely hard and long process somewhat similar to climbing mountains. However, just like mountains with hard work, dedication, inspiration, and sometimes help from others we can fight and overcome this disease. I do not expect this to happen overnight but I do expect to continue climbing to do whatever I can to raise money for this cause in the memory of my grandparents Ed and Dorothy Christenson and everyone else suffering from this terrible disease.

So far  I have climbed 35 of the Colorado 14ers including several of them multiple times. Just last month I represented the Colorado Alzheimer’s Chapter on the summit of the third highest point in North America, Pico de Orizaba at 18,491ft. My next goal is to climb Illimani in Bolivia at a lung busting 21,122ft. I have already bought my plane ticket and will try to climb this mountain in July. It will most likely take 9 or 10 days to reach the summit and get back down safely.

Ryan Kushner

You can follow Ryan and Robin from the ALZ Stars Facebook page here http://www.facebook.com/ALZStarsColorado

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