Kevin standing on top of the highest free standing peak in the World Mt KIlimanjaro.
Kevin, Kevin, Kevin, it has been a long time since I have had to share
a tent with someone but I have always been willing to share myself,
give hope and inspire others, to share the summit of Kilimanjaro with
you shows that none of it had been wasted. It was an honor and a
privilege to be a part of your historic first, the first j-pouch to
stand on top of the highest free standing peak in the World, Mt.
Mountains often symbolize life and looking back at it now, Kilimanjaro
was a true reflection of your journey. The start of the trek was rough
on you, altitude hit you hard, as your body adjusted we took the time
and approach needed to support you and how best to proceed with the
climb. Taking an extra day lower on the mountain was figuring out that
a slow approach would work best and give us the best chance of
success. As you now know, the early days on a mountain or in our own
health, can and often do set a tone for our journeys. The turnaround
in your health was expected but still amazing to see and speaks to
your mental and experiential strength. It amazed me at how much sleep
you managed to get in on the climb and I envied that ability, you even
managed to sleep through sharing a tent with me and my ileostomy.
You battled a touch of the flu and looked past it and stayed focused on a
summit shot, when most people wouldn’t have the endurance, you made it
look easy. You settled into a rhythm most trekkers struggle to find on
any climb, one that would put you where you needed to be for each step
of this journey. From one camp to the next as we moved up the
mountain, we became a team, we counted on each other, and supported
each step along the way.
As summit night approached the tension hit us all, the first steps
were driven by nervous energy and reality set in that we have a long
hard night ahead where we would challenge ourselves, physically,
mentally and spiritually, like only a mountain or an illness can. We
moved forward and sometimes slid back but we overcame, from the
strength we found in ourselves and from others, we grew stronger and
that is why we now share our stories and ourselves. Kevin, all
challenges that lie ahead will now seem smaller, you have achieved a
first among first. It was a proud moment to share the summit of
Kilimanjaro with you.