This is a photo of me at the Mount Everest base camp…and that mountain is my next journey. My ego has somehow convinced me that I think I can climb it. As most of you know, I have a thirst for adventure and (in my head) this has always been something I didn’t just dream of doing, it was something that I knew I was going to do. It was never a matter of if, but when? The time is now.
So here I am, looking up at a mountain I have been so very anxious to reach the top of for almost four decades now. What has led me here has been an amazing journey filled with so many ups and downs, but, don’t worry, I’ll spare you all the details. What you do need to know is that all of these ups and downs have led me to this place, at this time, ready to face the most demanding but greatest journey of my life thus far…climbing Mount Everest. I’m going to try to become the tallest person in the world for at least five minutes (I’m sure most you who know me would find that pretty funny).
Unfortunately, a year ago, I was one week away from leaving when the pandemic closed down the world. Seven months prior, I was diligently conditioning and preparing for this adventure. I thought it was time. I thought I was in the best physical condition that I could possibly be in and I thought I was ready to conquer this dream of mine. Then (like so many of us) COVID-19 abruptly stopped me in my tracks. So, I felt sorry for myself for about a week and (like all of you) realized that I had a role to play in helping us all navigate through this horrible pandemic that has changed all of our lives. Now, a year later and an additional year of climbing and mentally preparing for round two, I am more than ready and truly stronger than I thought I could ever be at this age.
Clearly, I understand making it to the top is likely a long shot for me, but (like I have said before) most things in life are not always about the destination but the journey to get there and I like a good challenge. This mountain has been a passion and a dream of mine for decades now and my window of opportunity will not be open forever. I am working with the best team, International Mountain Guides (IMG), to help me reach my goal and, with them, I know I will receive the best care and guidance needed while on the mountain. Special thanks to the team!
If you are still reading at this point in time, then I am hoping I have caught your attention enough to want to take this journey with me. You can follow this link here, International Mountain Guides, which will update you with my location on the mountain at any given point in time and (provided I can maintain connections back home) my daughter, Kendall, will keep up this blog for you to follow to see if I’m still moving. This blog will also include additional stories of this journey, people I have met along the way, and photos (which can be viewed in the gallery).
Now you may be wondering what I meant by getting involved. The answer is as follows: I have a challenge for all of you and I want to invite you to come along for the ride if you would like to. As most of you know I’ve been involved in medical mission activities (including both emergency medicine & disaster response, providing critical care to populations in need) and have had the privilege of repeated collaborations (providing and enhancing clinical medical education and training as well as joint research, particularly in resource-limited areas of the world) with numerous international affiliate partners over the past 20 years. I’ve had the honor and privilege of working with some of the most amazing people; most recently my focus has been in Nepal (after the 2015 earthquake) and sub-Saharan Africa in the small country of Eswatini.
Sitting here, in my tent, at base camp, has given me priceless time to reflect on my journey up until now. Every physician, nurse, healthcare worker, and patient that I have been blessed to help throughout my global health and medical mission trips is in the forefront of my mind and I want to take this opportunity to raise money to give to them the resources that they so desperately need. I know the pandemic has been very difficult for all of us here in the US, but the effects of the pandemic for hospitals, clinics, and other facilities in these countries has been nothing short of devastating. I hope (through all of our efforts) that we can possibly provide some impact to help these regions and facilities get back on their feet and move forward with their own selfless missions.
No one should feel any obligation or pressure to contribute anything, but if you are interested in helping me provide some resources for these missions, I am grateful and have a couple of ways in which you can consider contributing.
The challenge is as follows.
I am climbing a 30,000-foot mountain (29,032 feet to be exact). If you would like to follow me each step of the way, I encourage you to donate a penny, nickel, or dime for every step I take. With this option, please keep in mind that if (for some reason) I do make it to the top, that would be 30,000 feet and a penny for every foot would be $300. You can also choose to donate a designated amount. I’m not picky; any donation that you would be willing to contribute would mean so much to me and each of these missions. Any little bit would go a long way to help improve the medical healthcare delivered to each of these amazing groups. I thank you, in advance, for both your support and consideration.
All contributions will be tax deductible and documentation of your contributions will be provided to you.
Below is a brief summary of each donation option and you can find more detailed descriptions in the Donate tab at the top of the page.
Heart for Africa is a large scale land development project (and the site of children’s homes, schools, clinics and businesses employing over 300 men and women) created by two Canadians, Janine and Ian Maxwell. They are determined to help the orphaned and vulnerable children of Eswatini left homeless and without their families due to their country holding the highest HIV rate in the world. Project Canaan serves as home to nearly 290 children in the rural country of Eswatini (the new name for Swaziland), fighting hunger, caring for orphans, decreasing poverty and providing education.
Hope Rises is a fund that I created through the Greater Toledo Community Foundation to provide resources for advancing medical education, equipment, and supplies to the areas of the world that have significant limitations. The focus of Hope Rises is to provide educational training workshops to clinical providers (primarily in resource-limited areas of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Central America) that can advance healthcare, particularly in the acute and critical care settings. This mission will also provide needed equipment such as ventilators, airway devices, vascular access devices, ultrasound machines, and monitors to better treat, manage, and evaluate critical/unstable patients in both children and adult populations.
Please visit the Donate page for additional information on each of these options as well as links to their websites if you would like to learn even more about them. The Donate page will also include the links to make a direct donation.
Again, there is no pressure at all to donate. If you are still interested in following along, then feel free to subscribe to my website at the end of the page to receive updates as they come or follow updates from IMG at this link. You can also follow along on my Instagram page to get updated photos.
Thank you all for taking your time to read carefully through everything! I would be happy to answer any questions you may have if you would like to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can’t promise I will be able to get back to you right away (as internet and accessibility to devices are limited) but I will try my best! In the meantime, my family will have access to this email and will be able to answer any more immediate questions.
So, jump on board and come along for the ride; it should prove interesting…. Thanks for listening and for your consideration in donating to these well-deserved organizations; much appreciated!
Kristopher Brickman, MD