Great Wall of China Trekkers
Meet the 2013 IBD Adventures Great Wall of China
Robert Hill is the inspiration behind the No Guts Know Glory 7 Summits campaign. Diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 23, having had ostomy surgery several years later to remove his diseased colon, Rob made a commitment to raise awareness of intestinal disease by traveling to far places and climbing to extreme heights. You can read more about Rob’s amazing personal story Rob Hill Story. Don’t forget to follow him on Twitter: @roberthillclimb E-mail: rob @ nogutsknowglory.com
Jenn Stosberg is very excited to have the opportunity to go on this Great Wall trek with IBD Adventures- it’s been a very long road and the wall, imperfect yet amazing, reminds her of everything she has been through. Diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease at age 26, she initially resolved to have a perfect attitude about the disease; and thought that her doctor’s advice that chronic disease can be difficult was crazy. However, after a couple months of insomnia from prednisone and grasping the full reality of what was going on, her good attitude quickly dissipated, and she let the disease knock her down for over three years.
Eventually, from somewhere deep within and with the support of family and friends, she was able to find the strength to build herself back up one step at a time to where she can do anything she wants to – it started as a ¼ mile walk and now she has run four marathons, hiked hundreds of miles, gone skiing, and learned to love her life. Now she has the opportunity to go on this amazing trek to raise awareness about intestinal diseases; and her biggest hope is that everyone facing these diseases can quickly learn to never give up and to keep doing everything they love!
Phil, from Richmond, BC, met Rob in 1993 when they both worked at Motorola. After following Rob’s Seven Summits campaign with great interest, Phil joined the NO GUTS KNOW GLORY Mount Everest bid as a trekker. With his love for outdoor adventure, Phil took his support of IBD Adventures to the summit of Kilimanjaro in September 2009, to Mount Everest Base Camp in 2010, across the West Coast Trail, and now as part of the IBD Adventures Machu Pichu team. Follow Phil on Twitter:@phobus
Born in Vancouver at VGH, but grew up as a Service Brat, following my Father a Fighter Pilot in the RCAF across Canada, I guess his sense of adventure got passed down from generation to generation. Which lead me into a career in forestry, fulfilling my interest in the great outdoors and giving me the comfort level to introduce the wilderness to my young family. Discovering a life in forestry meant a nomadic life style, like that of an Air Force brat, I wanted to settle down for my family, the Coastal Mountains was the place, now living in Greater Vancouver and working for TransLink. Knowing the life of a military family and wanting to give back to kids led me into the Reserves on the Cadet Instructors List. Always willing to learn and find new challenges, I would take a Rappel / Absail Instructors Course during my time as an officer in the Cadet Core. This knowledge led me to teaching my own family, wife and kids, Rob being one of these, to rock climb. So I guess it’s my fault that he chose Mountaineering as a profession and away to raise awareness of IBD.
Tinna Ezekiel had her first colostomy at 1 day old due to V.A.T.E.R. syndrome and at age 10 was given a permanent ostomy. She has been a camper since then at Camp Canada and returned as a Counselor in Training, Counselor and Team Leader. Tinna jumped the border to become involved in Youth Rally in 2009 and now supports the Counselor in Training program. Tinna Ezekiel has frequently traveled and worked far from her home in Fort McMurray. Her experiences abroad, including her work with infectious disease (HIV and TB) control and with abandoned and orphaned children in South Africa and India, taught her a great deal about forming respectful community partnerships in diverse cultural settings. Tinna has a master’s degree in public health from the University of Waterloo. She is the mother of two and a half year-old Clare, who serves as a constant reminder of why staying healthy and having big dreams is so important
Born and raised in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Marc LeLacheur was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease a week before his 17th birthday. In 2007, five years after being diagnosed, Marc underwent a bowel resection and strictureplasty due to the worsening of his disease. Since then, he has not let the disease stop him from travelling around the world a few times. He has now been to Asia on 3 previous occasions, twice as a volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, and is really looking forward to the opportunity for a fourth. When he’s not travelling, Marc can be found at his day job working in IT for the province of NS, or otherwise glued to a computer somewhere, probably. He also volunteers locally for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation, and since 2011 has been a member of Gut Inspired, a group of Canadians with IBD looking to make a positive contribution to the IBD community nation-wide.
Julie has grown up and lived most of her life in Vancouver, BC. At age 14, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, and 21 years later she underwent surgery for a permanent ileostomy after exhausting all other options. During this time of physical transformation, she also underwent a career transition, from being a pharmaceutical sales representative into life coaching. Julie’s wish is to use the opportunities and gifts she has been given to inspire and empower others, especially kids, along their journeys with IBD.
After recovering from surgery last year, she embarked out on an amazing adventure to South America at the start of 2013. Julie travelled and trekked through Peru, Bolivia, Northern Chile and Argentina. You can read more about her story at:
Julie is so excited about all the amazing opportunities that await her now that she is free from pain, and the toilet! With open arms, she is embracing and celebrating her second chance at this incredible life!
Michele has had the pleasure of working with Rob Hill (IDEAS/IBD Adventures) on a number of initiatives to promote awareness and improve health outcomes for the Canadian IBD community. She is thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in another IBD Adventures trek to raise awareness for people living with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Last year she took a bold step (actually several bold steps!) forward in Peru, putting herself outside of her comfort zone and challenging herself both physically and mentally to complete the demanding high altitude INCA Trail trek in support of this amazing cause. Michele is not a practised trekker, but she is spirited and adventurous enough to tackle the challenges of trekking The Great Wall of China with IBD Adventures in hopes of inspiring others to pursue their dreams and goals while living with IBD. Michele has been very active in the Canadian IBD community since being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. She has 2 wonderful children (ages 20 and 18) and lives in Stittsville with hubby Brian of 23 years! Michele is President of The 3C Foundation of Canada.
Shelly O’Brien – Originally from Kentville, NS and currently living in Ottawa, ON, Shelly runs her own consulting business in strategic planning, marketing and operations management for small business. She lives with her husband Merv, two boys (Griffin, 18 and Josh, 16) and their large but lovable dog, Milo. Fortunate to have excellent health herself, Shelly has a number of very close friends who deal with Crohn’s disease in their daily lives. One of these friends, Jen, has been a running partner of Shelly’s for 8 years and together they have run eight marathons and several other distance races. In 2010 Jen was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease. Some running races have been tougher for Jen than others but she has never quit in any event and has always gotten her medal. Despite the challenges of intestinal disease Jen is an inspiration not only as a running partner but in her everyday positive approach to life. And so, in honour of her tenacious friend, Shelly is looking forward to seeing the Great Wall for the first time and getting to know her fellow trekkers. It is a welcome opportunity to help raise awareness and funds that will help support education and solutions for those who live with intestinal disease.
Cathy is connected to the IBD world through her husband, David, who has colitis and is the Treasurer of the 3C Foundation of Canada, her grandmother who has suffered with Crohn’s for many years, and her good friend Michele Hepburn who convinced her to join this trek! She views this as a chance to support awareness of the disease. Cathy is not a trekker, but loves new adventures and challenges. She has worked mainly as an HR professional in hi-tech, but recently joined her husband’s general insurance brokerage as a licensed broker. Cathy and David have two children, Laura (22) and Cameron (20), both enrolled at Carleton University.
Betty Anne Loy, (“BA”) Climber
Corporate Administration (Vancouver, BC)
Betty Anne provides administration services to a wide range of companies including many publically traded in Canada and the US. Services include statutory compliance, regulatory filings and all aspects of corporate and shareholder communications. BA also serves as a corporate secretary to boards of directors and their executive committees. Her passion is world travel which she embraces with curiosity and gusto. BA grew up in the Rockies; born and raised in Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, the mountains are in her blood. Her move to Vancouver with its vast and beautiful outdoor playground potential and all that it offers was made to order for this adventurous girl. She’s trekked in Alaska, the Middle East, the Andes (her first high elevation adventure) followed by La Malinche and Pico Orizaba in Mexico. BA is looking forward to being a part of the 2013 charity climb team for the North American Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society (IDEAS) and its support to raise public awareness of intestinal diseases. A chance to help make a change in the future for children, youth and young adults by raising awareness of gastrointestinal diseases and disorders through education and public campaigns based on ability rather than disability is important. BA’s other outdoor activities include skiing (both downhill and cross country), snow shoeing, scuba-diving, biking and generally all things adventurous.
Michele Cohen is delighted to be working again with Rob and IBD Adventures. She is the Renshaw Travel Adventure Specialist, arranging worldwide adventure holidays and leading some of them. Prior to this she was a full time Tour Leader, taking groups hiking around the world, trekking in remote regions, and up high peaks in most continents. She worked with Rob to put together the IBD Adventures trek to Machu Picchu, and now she will be accompanying the group along the Wall.
“I can officially say, having been in contact with most group members, this is the coolest team of trekkers!”
Adventure Travel Specialist
2175 W. 4th Ave., Vancouver, BC
V6K 1N7, Canada
Direct Line: 1 604 730 3366
Switchboard: 1 604 733 1010 x242
Toll free: 1 800 745 7753
Fax: 1 604 669 1010
To find out more about my upcoming tours please visit Wandering Heights Adventure Travel Upcoming Trips 2013: