Only when you’ve been in the deepest valley can you know how magnificent it is to be atop the highest mountain
Twelve months ago I received the news most people fear when I was told: “Sorry to have to tell you this John but you have an advanced Cancer that is aggressive and to add to that you also have a secondary cancer.” In short I am terminally ill and my clock is ticking. This you may say is my ‘crux’ and I either fall or push on to the summit. For me there was only one option and since that day I have kept on climbing, taking in the beauty around me and enjoying every challenge that lies ahead.
The man at the top of the mountain did not fall there
Whilst sat amongst so many friends from around the globe at the recent World Climbing Championships in Paris it became clear to me just how unique climbing is as a sport and how special we are as climbers. No matter what nationality, creed or colour there is a natural desire to support each other and encourage one another to succeed. Very few sports display this togetherness and it was at this point I realised that we are in fact an ‘extended family’.
The strength of a man is not in his muscles but what is in his heart
Whilst thinking about the possibilities of ‘Climbers Against Cancer’ as an idea I remembered the saying ‘strength in numbers’ and how the world of climbing as a family has so much power to deliver a message across the globe. If, as a group of friends, we come together and support ‘CAC’ it can help others in the future by raising awareness and funds to further research into finally finding a cure for cancer! Being open about my own predicament has helped others feel more comfortable in discussing this disease and whether talking to adults or children I have seen a huge change in attitude.
Life is not measure by the breaths we take, but rather by the moments that take our breath away
Top climbers from around the world have already offered their support to the campaign by wearing the Climbers Against Cancer clothing and by following their lead and purchasing a T-shirt from the website shop you will all be contributing to the fight against cancer. All proceeds from sales or donations will go towards International Cancer Research Charities from each of the five continents.
When it is dark enough, you can see the stars
We hope to create a climbers’ ‘Family Album’ and once a T-shirt is bought we will be asking the recipients to add to the growing display by downloading their own photograph whilst wearing the garment. Blogs and links can also be added so as to create a portal that climbers will visit on a regular basis to keep up to date with each others achievements and exploits.
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference
Similar to other climbing websites across the world we would also welcome sponsors and a number of companies have already shown a desire to support the initiative and our fight against cancer.
You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth
Founder of CAC
(I wrote this piece at 4am in the morning on the 28th October 2012 as I conceived the idea for CAC. I haven’t altered anything since as it has a special meaning to me. It also serves as a reminder of how I embarked on this fabulous journey)