February 22, 2018

2013 Grand Canyon Cancer Walk

GC-pic-300X450Below is a short story/bio about my friend Randy. He lost his leg to cancer a few years ago. Like me, he is a very driven individual and he decided to push himself and hike the Grand Canyon. I decided to come along for the ride. Having cerebral palsy I have some limitations myself but thought pushing myself physically would be fun and rewarding. I would like to thanks all of the sponsors who helped us out on this trip – Tracy

  • Wilderness Athlete
  • Outdoorsman Inc
  • Prosthetic Laboratories of Rochester
  • Scent-Lok
  • Easton Mountain Products
  • GoPro
  • Spot
  • GU Energy
  • Goal Zero

Welcome to the Grand Canyon Cancer Walk – 2013. This is something I have to do and the rest of the details are a bit long but I hope you continue to read my ramblings. It would be great if you do. Cancer is a Monster and I’d like to help the American Cancer Society and other Cancer patients in this way.

Many of you know the journey I’ve been on since 2009 with cancer, amputation of my right leg above the knee and chemotherapy treatment. On November 12th, 2009 while I was sitting at Methodist hospital in Rochester, MN., I thought about how blessed I was because of all the races I’d run, the sports I’d played and mountains I had climbed with the use of two good legs. Some of my thoughts that day contained the idea that if I could do any of those things again, then I would know that I’m really going to be ok. Three and a half years later, I am making plans to do some of those things.

I’ve done a few dumb things in my life (no comment Karen) and with all I’ve been through, that hasn’t changed I guess. With the gift of my new Genium leg and the help of Prosthetic Laboratories of Rochester, MN., it looks like I may be doing something “dumb” again, at least by most people’s standards. I will be going to the Grand Canyon for 5 days and 4 nights of back country wilderness camping in October, 2013. It’s where you have to carry everything you need in your backpack. I’ve been on many wilderness backpacking trips before and everything in me wants to return to that type of thing. It’s something I have to do. My training has started and my hopes are sky high. I’ve often said “Shoot for the stars and if you only land on the moon, that’s a cool view too!” The “stars” on this trip will be two nights and one day at Bright Angel campground in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. If I find that the trail is more difficult than expected I may have to land on the “moon” and enjoy the view from Indian Garden for a couple of days. I couldn’t be more excited. The itinerary will start at the South Rim trailhead and descend to Indian Garden campground the first day. The second day will be to descend to Bright Angel campground on the Colorado River at the bottom of the canyon. I’ll spend two nights and one day there before the climb out to Indian Garden on the fourth day. The fifth day will be spent at Indian Garden campground. Then on the sixth day I will complete the trip with the climb out to the South Rim. On the seventh day I’ll rest, sound familiar? Part of me may have been taken away in 2009 but who I am at my core wasn’t changed. Matter of fact, it may have made me even stronger.

Many of you may think this would be something you want to do as well. There is one open spot on my team of four. You can always start your own group and meet us out there but it’s just that I only have a reservation for a total of four. If you are thinking about it I might caution you that this isn’t going to be easy. You must train to be able to do something like this. You must have the correct gear and most importantly the correct attitude. If you have never wilderness camped before, it will stretch you beyond your imagination. The Grand Canyon is like no other. It’s very difficult.

Here’s the most exciting part of it all. It’s going to be the American Cancer Society Grand Canyon Cancer Walk – 2013. The idea of doing it for myself didn’t seem like enough so we’ve turned it into a fundraiser event. While it’s something I have to do for me, more importantly I want to raise awareness of just how big a monster cancer has become in today’s society. I will be attaching ribbons to my backpack In Honor Of or In Memory Of cancer patients and/or care givers. The ribbons are $10 apiece and will be embroidered with the person’s name. If they are a cancer survivor like me, the ribbon will have the number of years since first being diagnosed on it. If they have passed on, the ribbon will have “IMO” for In Memory Of. If you want to honor a Care Giver their ribbon will have “IHO” placed on it. Once the Grand Canyon Cancer Walk is completed the ribbons will be returned to the donor if they desire. The ribbons will be the assigned color of the type of cancer the person had. In the case of my cancer it will be yellow. I didn’t care for yellow (bone) before but it’s really not my favorite now!

An interesting thing happen as I started to write down just my family members who have had some kind of cancer. I got to six and my wife reminded me of two more. I thought “how could I have forgotten them?” I felt embarrassed and ashamed but quickly understood that with being a cancer patient myself, I often forget just how much my family has been devastated by cancer. I don’t want to forget anyone ever again. I have placed those 8 ribbons on my pack. I’m struggling to include friends because of the many who have had cancer. I don’t know if I can afford it. I would encourage you if nothing else to just take a moment and write down your family members which have been attacked by cancer. It will be good just to remember them if nothing else. If you want a ribbon for the Grand Canyon Cancer Walk let me know through my email. Don’t forget the care givers as well. It’s ok to have multiple ribbons for one person and after thinking about it, what a great encouragement to that person to know they had six, seven or even more ribbons from many different donors.

If you’ve been through cancer yourself then you will know all about what I’m going to say next. Cancer is a MONSTER. Chemotherapy and radiation are bigger MONSTERS. They have to be to kill the cancer. It’s time to remember those that have fought both the disease and effects of the cure. It’s time to kill those monsters for good. Will you join me? I hope you do. I envision 5000 ribbons fluttering in the breeze as I conquer the Grand Canyon Cancer Walk. That will make a great picture. It will make an even better memory.

I will be posting comments, pictures and video to my blog and Facebook event to keep you all informed. I’d appreciate your prayers as well. It’s not going to be easy but it’s going to be well worth the effort.