About ten years ago, David Janes, a 20-year resident of Tarrytown, became involved in raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). He was drawn to the organization because his grandfather had passed away from Leukemia and participated in 100-mile bike rides to raise money for LLS.
“Those rides taught me about the importance of these kinds of physical activities that can raise funding and support people who are suffering from cancer,” noted Janes. “And the camaraderie I built with the people who are joining together to do something to make a difference.”
This past December, David’s father was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, and he searched for ways he could help raise money for people fighting the disease. Based on his LLS experience, David looked for an organization with an activity-based program. He found Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma (MM4MM), a collaboration between CURE Media Group, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), and Celgene.
MM4MM brings patients, caregivers, myeloma doctors and nurses, and myeloma loved ones together to climb challenging mountains — Mount Kilimanjaro, the Grand Canyon, Mt. Fuji, and Everest Base Camp — to demonstrate that the advancements being made in recent years are helping patients live a longer, higher quality life.
The first climb, in 2016, saw a team of 15 MMRF supporters, including four myeloma patients, climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest free-standing mountain in the world. Since that start, there have been a total of 221 climbers, including 55 myeloma patients, on 12 climbs. Over $441,000 has been raised for MMRF.
On June 28th–30th, David will join a team of 22 to take on Mount Washington, the highest peak in the northeastern United States at 6,288 feet above sea level. The team will cover over 4,000 feet of elevation to reach the summit. After stopping to enjoy the view and revel in their accomplishment, the team will continue their trek to the Lake of the Clouds hut nestled in the side of the mountain where they will spend the night. Sunday is a quick hike down the mountain retracing their steps from their ascent.
“There’s something special about bringing a group of people together for a physical activity where you’re raising money and trying to do something to effect change,” said Janes. “A lot of the people who are supporting you feel very empowered by the fact that you’re actually out there doing something. It’s more than just raising money. There’s a bigger power to it.”
David hopes to raise $5000 from his climb. To donate to MMRF and David’s climb, go to endurance.themmrf.org/2019MtWashington/Donate and type in David Janes.
“We live in a really magical place in the country,” noted Janes. “It’s hard in many parts of the U.S. to find really authentic communities where you can build strong friendships. If we’re fortunate to be in communities like this, we’ve got to give back. By giving back we’re strengthening our own community.”
Over the course of the next few weeks, David will be posting blogs to the River Journal web site. You can read about his training, his fundraising progress, and his climb at www.riverjournalonline.com/Mountain.