Laura and I just got back from a whirlwind tour of Iowa!!! Three trips - 2,000 miles - in thirteen days!!! Once to see one of Kari's beautiful, young friends get married. Once to speak at University of Iowa Heart/Lung Transplant picnic. And once to speak in Altoona for Iowa Donor Network. Much to my princess's dismay - I now own more Hawkeye & Panther gear. But more important - just being in Iowa makes my soul warm. Parts of me are home...
2017 will be my 15th climb – And it will be the 14th time our Kari’s Klimbers have taken the stairs 94 floors, 1,622 steps to the top of the John Hancock Center for the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago.
All is well with me – I’m breathing and peeing like a racehorse. My beautiful lungs have been performing between 110-120% of expected for my age for the past several years. Can you imagine going from 10-15% to 120%??? And since Alex gave it to me, my kidney function has been better than it’s been in the past 30+ years! And my Alex, with her one kidney, and her Matt now have two beautiful little boys, Eli and Noah!!! I’m an honorary uncle!!!
It’s that time of year again… Registration for the 2017 climb is weeks away – Registration is on Tuesday, November 1st at 8:00am SHARP!!! Over the years, the Hustle has often sold out in roughly an hour – be there on time! Last year it did not sell out for several weeks – but that may have been a fluke. The climb will be on the last Sunday in February, 2016 – Sunday, February 26, 2015. Registration is the same as last year – $155.
My www.ClimbingForKari.org website needs a little updating – but the links should be going to the right place soon. I will register early on October 17th to create our “Kari’s Klimbers” team (and commit to raising $1000) so that our team will be available to join at 8:00am on Tuesday, November 1st and there are no delays in registration. DO NOT SIGN UP BEFORE 8:00AM ON TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1st – if you do, you too will be committing to raise at least $1000. Registering at or after 8:00am on Tuesday, November 1st does not commit you to raising anything beyond your registration fee (though, I’m always grateful if you choose to do so!!!) Drop me a line if you’re interested in the Hustle this coming year – or just join my team on November 1st… I’ll send you a reminder with links to the registration page a few days before November 1st. Remember – the full climb usually sells out pretty quickly.
Instructions for joining my team will be on my www.ClimbingForKari.org website… A direct link to the instruction page is HERE… There is a prior year’s step-by-step document on that page, as well as a link to retrieve your prior username and password that will speed your registration.
And finally – if this is not your first climb, thank you so much for climbing with me in past years… I spoke about quitting a few times in the distant past – I’ve had things I wanted to focus on and this takes a lot of thought and energy (so much of which falls on Laura’s back!!!) But – this is what I do… And Kari’s friends also let me know that quitting didn’t seem to be an option for me.
I do a fair amount of public speaking about organ donation and about Kari (and now Alex) – so much of what I talk about revolves around my participation in the Hustle – and meeting her friends through the Hustle – and about the people who come out to support me at the Hustle – about YOU… This climb has become part of who I am and what I do – and YOU have helped make it what it is for me…
Some of you have climbed with me for thirteen years – some of you for several years. Almost every year I meet someone new who Kari grew up with, and they come out to remember her with me. And for some of you – well, I just met you, and this is crazy, but we’re climbing 94 floors soon – join us maybe?! Through these past fourteen years we’ve raised well over $300,000 together – that freaking blows my mind… How many times have you been part of a team that has raised that much funding??? I haven’t either. And this has happened because of so many people like you helping me. Thank you. And more special than the money will ever mean to me – you’ve helped me build a little platform to tell the world about Kari, and about Alex, and the gifts they’ve given – and you’ve helped me tell so many others about organ donation.
We’ve had so many organ & tissue recipients, and donor family members, and friends of donors on our team – and when I go places to speak about organ donation, people say, “You’re that guy who climbs 100 story buildings with your new lungs!!! And so many of them already know Kari’s smile, and her name – and that means everything to me. I would have never generated that much excitement alone – I would have never generated that much awareness without all of you.
I know that times are a little tough and cash is a little tight for many of us – and if you can’t make it this year, that’s OK – and thank you for the times you have made it. If you can make it – I’m honored to have you on my team. (And if you know someone who needs to see this note – please forward it to them, and please send me their email address so that I can get them on the notification roster!)