This weekend a group of children and teenagers struck by leukemia will be based in Courmayeur with their sights keenly set on climbing Mont Blanc. They will be accompanied in this adventure by a group of mountain guides and mountaineers including the likes of Hajo Friederich, Daniel Bartsch, Hans Lochner and Anna Torretta. This is the latest undertaking of "To the edge", a team comprised of German mountaineers, DKMS (the largest German bone marrow donor registry) and Lifebridge.
The aim of "To the edge" is to fight leukemia by overcoming the barriers and borders which divide the "world of strong and healthy " from the weak. Or, put in other words, from the sort of hospital limbo in which the ill are sometimes imprisoned and forgotten. The focus of this no-profit association, founded by a group of famous German mountaineers operating in expeditions in Greenland, Pakistan and Patagonia, is on ill and extremely ill patients. This provides a means for the mountaineers to give reason to their choices which are often "beyond the limits" by placing them at the service of another battle, certainly well beyond these limits, such as the fight against leukemia.
The ascent of Mont Blanc was preceded this month by an ascent of Germany's Watzmann (Berchtesgaden) as part of the Children's Challenge project. A journey "To the edge" to discover how much the mountains and people can give and receive from one another. An ascent of Mont Blanc would definitely be a great adventure and experience for these children and the "To the edge" team, regardless of whether they reach the summit or not. And an adventure such as this one immediately received the support and help of the Autonomous Rergion of Valle d'Aosta, of Grivel and Mountain Hardwear, and of all of us who would like to join them, ideally, in this undertaking.
Good luck on Mont Blanc!
CHILDRENS CHALLENGE 2006
TO THE EDGE ON MONT BLANC
Through Childrens Challenge the dream of the kid winning against his illness is made transparent nothing is impossible! never give up! "Living on the Edge" in another way. The rule, to "go to the max" is to achieve recognition and acceptance within the professional climbing community. If one achieves this, only then can one be assured to be in the midst of attention by the media and sponsors. One important foundation for this is ones own fitness and well being but what if this is not given?
What possibilities are left, for instance by a terminal illness like cancer? Who is then asking in what difficulty degree one climbs, or how many mountains one has successfully climbed? These questions then becomes very unimportant.
Can the attributes from climbing, to give the max, also help stimulate persons struck by cancer? Exactly this believes, and is the base for their motivation, the team from "To The Edge". To motivate and encourage such persons to fight their illness.
Sunday 10:30am, we are all standing on the mountain top and are exceedingly happy! For the first time to stand on the 2714 meter high Watzmann is for many ordinary men a special event in their lives. Many questions and obstacles came up before this moment of happiness, because the participating kids and teenagers had been struck by cancer, mostly in leukemia. But important for them, thanks to true determination and good support they had conquered their fatal illness. Now it was important for them selves and other kids as well, still unfortunate with cancer, to show that they were back to a fully normal life and had lost their anxieties.
The sucess of Simon, Dominik, Katharina, Marion and Sabrina made school, because it showed kids and teenagers, still in hospital that they can beat their illness and retrun to a normal and active life afterwards. Even when the last Chemotherapy took place in last fall, they had regained the power to participate in the climb. This should give inspiration to the kids still in hospital that next year, they can also be chosen to participate.
We within "To the Edge" have often asked ourselves if climbing can accomplish anything, or is it just risking ones life for the senseless? The answer to our doubts came from the 11-year old Simon participating; "I have as of today no more fear for heights and by climbing to the top a wish close to my hear came through. Never did I think I could achieve it the mountain looked so big". The reaction from the hospitalized kids in Schwabinger hospital was: "Really cool from Simon. For us he is a small hero".
Cisco is main sponsor of the project.
WHAT IS TO THE EDGE AND WHAT DOES IT WISH TO ACHIEVE?
"To the Edge" is a group of climbing and adventure seeking persons that, together with DKMS Deutsche Knochenmarkspenderdatei gGmbH - German bone marrow donor registry and "Lebensbrucke" "Life bridge", both registered charitable organizations, through sport and media is trying to stretch the boundaries, therefore the name "To the Edge", to highlight the fight against Leukemia. Questioning the deeper cause of putting ones life into danger for the search of the ultimate adventure the team members came up with this idea to instead do these things for a charitable cause. All To The Edge members do this work for free. This is their third year running and still has not lost their focus!
A CHARITABLE ADVENTURE - Mount Leukaemia
With the 1st climb ever! A 6.000 meter high unclimbed mountain in Pakistan will be tried and climbed if the weather permits. By naming the mountain the name "Mt. Leukemia" "To the Edge" hopes that even more people will be highlighted toward the fight against Leukemia.
Here no children are allowed to participate, "this we rather challenge the To The Edge team with we are going into unchartered territory. Very much was a kid does when contracted with cancer." says C-M Wilhelmsson, also a TTE member. The organization at location in Pakistan is arranged through a "help to self help" project organization related to the Himalaja Karakorum e. V. The expedition is supported by DAV, German Alpine Org. section Berchtesgaden.
Without the help and support of Grivel, Moutain Hardwear, Ravensburger, More, Roc'Terra, Alpinmed, Bergschule exclusiv, Spielzeug International this adventure could never have been organised. . They gave all their support free of charge, asking for nothing in return.Naturally all team members of To The Edge will be doing this for charity.
If you would like to support the project: www.totheedge.de