Some major risk started in the middle of the night on a mountain in Nepal. The mountain's name is Imja Tse, which translates to Island Peak. Earlier in the day the Above and Beyond Cancer group honored cancer victims and survivors with a Relay for Life and prayer flag ceremony on the mountain, then under the cover of darkness some of the climbers set off for the summit of Imja Tse.
Dr. Richard Deming said, "As you look ahead or look back all you see is this string of headlamps as we're winding our way up this rocky mountainside."
The crew crushed their way through snow and ice, roped together for safety. The goal was to reach the peak of Imja Tse at 24,000 feet in a matter of hours. Eventually the sun rose and the climbers had a beautiful calm morning to carefully maneuver between dark, deep crevasses.
Dr. Deming said, "The first part is a bit of a jumble where the glacier has cracked and tumbled, it's almost like you're on ramps and walkways with thousand foot drops and hundred foot icicles."
The group made it to the summit, and celebrated. With the world's highest peaks all around them, these cancer survivors and caregivers relished in their incredible feat and reflected on what they accomplished. Not just conquering the mountain, but for some of them it was beating cancer. Exhilarated and exhausted they proved that cancer doesn't have the final say in their life and they are ready to fight back.
Dr. Deming says, "If we can inspire people to live authentically and reach for dreams but also get involved in physical activity to help reduce the chances they'll get cancer and help improve the outcomes if they do have cancer than we will have come a long way in helping reduce the burden of cancer.
ABC5 would like to give special thanks to Dr. Deming for once again sharing another Above and Beyond Cancer adventure. Also special thanks to the other founder of the organization, Charlie Wittmack. John Richards was the photographer on the trip who captured all of the beautiful video. Finally a ‘thank you' to the cancer survivors who let us tell their stories.