Saturday, September 04, 2010

Climbing Kili to Kill Tumors

Taken from my seasonal blog for the Gold's Gym Be Golden big climb team blog -

Kili Climb to Kill Tumors

STAY TUNED!!!!!!!!
Keep checking in for updates on our team.

10-10-10 Kili Climb to Kill Tumors

In October 2010, 6 members of the Gold's Gym big climb team will tackle a REAL "big climb" as they pursue to summit the "Roof of Africa" on Mt. Kilimanjaro. Follow team captain Rebecca Dufek and Gold's Gym Big Climb team members Redmond gym personal trainer Merrie Vieco, Pedro Vieco, Chris Pierard, Shane Pierard, and Harley Dufek as they aim to reach the top on 10-10-10. The date is not only of historical significance but is also the 1 year anniversary of Skip's passing and 10 years after the dream of climbing Kilimanjaro for NF2 awareness was conceived while Rebecca and Harley were on their honeymoon. Skip will definitely be there with them in spirit!!!!

Like her friend Skip, Rebecca, her grandfather, and a 3rd cousin were diagnosed with various forms of blood cancer. Rebecca is the only remaining survivor, now surpassing 17 years of remission for Hodgkin's Lymphoma - the same cancer that Rebecca's inspiration and Everest/7 summit climber Sean Swarner was stricken with as a child. (visit to read more about Sean's story)

Although Rebecca was fortunate to sustain a long remission from blood cancer, her life has not remained tumor free. As a matter of fact, it has been very far from tumor free as numerous benign yet slowly growing tumors were found within her brain and spine as the result of a genetic disorder known as Neurofibromatosis, more specifically type 2 (NF2) in Rebecca's case where tumors primarily occupy the central nervous system.

To date, Rebecca has undergone one radiosurgery and two brain surgeries for 6 of the multiple brain tumors. The side effects incurred have been complete deafness, loss of balance function, several vision impairments, and facial paralysis affecting the ability to eat, drink, smile, kiss, and keep the right eye protected from drying out.

As with cancer, Rebecca has known several people who have died and lost loved ones from both NF1 and NF2. While Rebecca and her team embark on this dangerous and challenging adventure, the Seattle Producer Cesari Direct will be making a movie documentary of their trek called "The Perseverence Factor" with anticipated release in 2012. Through the movie, Rebecca and Harley's vision is to bring awareness to the world of NF, cancer, deafness, disability, challenged athletes, and perseverence as well as to inspire.

To learn more of this upcoming adventure and to donate, please visit:

To Donate

Help Stop NF2 Foundation

Climbing Itinerary

Details on how to join the team for the Seattle Big Climb 2011 coming in November.

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