Hiking from the Heart

Our interest in Above + Beyond Cancer began about a year ago when we heard Ruth Bachman*, a cancer survivor, speak about her hike to the Mt. Everest base camp with Above + Beyond.  The event was sponsored by Drake University’s The Comparison Project*.  We were intrigued and challenged by Ruth’s story of the trip—the spiritual, physical, and mental aspects of such an incredible journey.  

As Roger and I drove home that night we discussed how much we’d like to go to the base camp of Mt. Everest as Ruth had.  Fun how big dreams get birthed, isn’t it?  We have always loved the outdoors and find hiking to be a fun and invigorating way to promote our health goals.   So, blending our passion for doing things together as a couple with loving and helping others seemed like a great combination!

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Fast forward 12 months later. During a meeting with Dr. Richard Deming, the Founder and Chairman of Above + Beyond Cancer, I discovered that the team was going to Machu Picchu this year.  Roger and I were immediately intrigued, and we talked about it, talked about it some more, and then applied for the adventure!  We were thrilled when we heard we were accepted to go.

We are going on the trek in honor of Roger’s sister, Rhonda Wheeler, a breast cancer survivor, and in memory of Dillon Morris, the son of one of my cousins, who died of brain cancer at a young age.

In addition, Dr. Deming has endorsed my recently published book Stop Breathe Believe: Mindful Living One Thought at a Time*, which teaches people to stop and mindfully become aware of an unhealthy thought, breathe our way to calm openness, and believe a compassionate truth statement.  In preparation for our journey I’ll be teaching the Machu Picchu team the practice of Stop Breathe Believe; my hope is that it will help us as we encounter various trials and hurdles on the path—to Machu Picchu and beyond.  The trek to Machu Picchu is a great metaphor for the trek of life we all face, especially during times of hardship such as cancer.

We are so excited to be on this journey—and excited to have you get involved with us.  We’ll be taking some prayer flags on the trek just like the ones you see in our picture—with our own special twist.  It will be no surprise to all of the Stop Breathe Believe fans that our flags will be red, yellow and green.  If you would like to write a prayer or a message in honor of or in memory of someone, let us know and we will mail the flag to you to inscribe or decorate however you like.  We then will be hanging up the prayer flags each night at camp to honor those individuals featured on the flags.

If you want to be involved in the fight against cancer and help others cancer survivors go on the journey to Machu Picchu, please consider donating through our Crowd Rise site.  Proceeds are 100% tax deductible and all donations will go toward supporting the travel expenses for cancer survivors.

*Tim Knepper, Drake professor and director of The Comparison Project, is the husband of Catherine Knepper.  Catherine is the editor of Stop Breathe Believe: Mindful Living One Thought at a Time.    

*Ruth Bachman is a right-handed amputee who lost her arm to soft tissue sarcoma.  You can read more of her story and learn about her amazing book, Growing Through the Narrow Spots, at www.ruthbachman.com.

*To find out more about the book, Stop Breathe Believe: Mindful Living One Thought at a Time, check it out here.