In late 2009, Patrick McCarrick, long-time St. Baldrick’s volunteer and shavee, decided to do something that would inspire people to join him in the fight to conquer childhood cancers. He established Climb for Five (C45) – a team with a mission to summit the highest peaks on each of the continents while raising funds and awareness for life-saving childhood cancer research. Since then, the C45 Team has climbed Tanzania’s Mount Kilimanjaro in 2010 and Washington state’s Mount Rainier in 2011.
2012 Climb to Mount Elbrus, Russia
After flying into Moscow, Russia, the team will arrive at Mount Elbrus Base Camp in the foothills of the lower Caucasus on Aug. 27. Mount Elbrus, standing 18,510 ft. above the nearby Black and Caspian Seas, is Europe’s tallest mountain.
The route will take the team from the mountain’s base, sitting between ancient lava flows, up the glaciers of Mount Elbrus’ north side to the West Summit, the mountain’s highest point. Due to the mountain’s size and seclusion the team will climb “expedition style,” acclimatizing as they move camps higher in preparation for the push to the summit. This treacherous climb will take upwards of 11 days to complete.
Meet the Climbers
Patrick McCarrick, Las Vegas, Nev., Founder of C45: Originally from Ireland, Patrick has enjoyed outdoor adventures from an early age. In 1997 he moved to Nevada, where he was first introduced to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. When his father passed away from cancer, Patrick was motived to do something more, so he created Climb for Five and set out to climb the tallest peaks in the world to conquer childhood cancers.
Jon Koot, State College, Penn., Third Year Climbing with C45: His life-long fascination with the outdoors has led him to hike/backpack in such places as the Grand Canyon, Death Valley, Acadia, parts of the Appalachian Trail and in Ireland. While living in Las Vegas he met Patrick, became a St. Baldrick’s shavee and was inspired to join the C45 team in 2010.
Eric Larsen, Las Vegas, Nev., Second Year Climbing with C45: Eric became involved with St. Baldrick’s and C45 in 2011 as both a shavee and a climber. A longtime runner, cyclist, and pseudo-triathlete, Eric has a true passion for the outdoors and travelling both at home and abroad. Having lost too many friends and loved ones to cancer, he is honored to be a member of the C45 team for a second year.
Louis Kayatin II, Avon Lake, Ohio, First Year Climbing with C45: As a veteran climber, Louis has hiked just about every peek the East Coast has to offer. Last year he traveled to Washington State to conquer Mount Rainier, where a chance encounter with the 2011 C45 team and the kid stories they shared, affected him deeply; and so he volunteered for the 2012 climb without hesitation.
David Lesh, Riverside, Calif., First Year Climbing with C45: As a Division Chief with the City of Riverside Fire Department, David’s mountaineering career started 24 years ago. Since that time, he has completed numerous climbs in the Cascades, Sierras and Rocky Mountains; summited Denali in Alaska, Aconcagua in Argentina and Kilimanjaro in Tanzania; and trekked to the Everest base camp and Amadablam in Nepal. This year’s climb is personal to him because his four-year-old grandson, Jacob, is currently fighting cancer.
Matt Mathis, Riverside, Calif., First Year Climbing with C45: Matt has been a professional firefighter for the City of Riverside for nine years. Over the past five years he has summited Mount Whitney twice, Mount Shasta and Mount Rainier; and soon will take his turn at tackling Mount Elbrus.
Climbing In Honor of the 2012 Ambassador Kids
St. Baldrick’s has five Ambassador Kids, illustrating that for every five kids diagnosed, four will survive and one will not. The C45 team will take keepsakes from each of the kids with them on their trek for inspiration and motivation.
The Ambassador Kids will be honored over the 11-day climb in the order below:
Emily, 8, Texas | Acute lymphoblastic leukemia, in remission: Emily is sending her favorite stuffed animal, Fluffy, a gift from a child life specialist at the hospital on the day she was diagnosed. Fluffy became a source of comfort and companionship during Emily’s treatment. She also included her prized Mickey Mouse ears from her recent Make a Wish trip to Walt Disney World. These items symbolize both the beginning of her cancer journey and the celebration of the end of her treatment.
Austin, 5, Ohio | Bilateral Wilms tumor, no evidence of disease: On almost every one of Austin’s 130 nights in the hospital, he could look up from his bed and gaze at the galaxy of wishing stars dangling overhead. Handmade by his friends, family, nurses and even strangers, Austin’s stars contained wishes for everything from strength, comfort and love to clear scans, a working kidney and painless procedures to cartwheels, sleepovers and grilled cheese sandwiches.
When the going gets tough on the mountain, the C45 team will be suppported by Austin’s wishes of hope, love, health, joy and peace. As his mother Krissy says, “If you have those five things, what else could you possibly wish for?”
Sarah, 23, Virginia | Biphenotypic leukemia, in remission: Sarah, a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority, loves pandas (their mascot). To keep the climbers company on their climb, she is sending her panda Beanie Baby, Mandy – a gift from her dear friend, Linda, whose son Tommy lost his battle with Ewing’s sarcoma in 2008 at the age of 9. With this special keepsake in hand, Sarah knows that Tommy will be watching over the climbers as they make their way to the summit.
Justin, 9, Colorado | Neuroblastoma, in treatment: With a true passion for life, Justin couldn’t pick just one item to send, so he chose four! The C45 team will be taking along one of Justin’s hats, a golf ball (every hiker should have one according to Justin), a Lego man on a horse built from Justin’s favorite Legos, and some special yarn. The yarn, used to make ‘twirlies’ (made by twirling pieces of yarn on his blanket), helps soothe Justin when he is anxious, nervous, scared and tired.
Teddy, Forever 9 (2/6/2001 – 8/16/2010), Connecticut | Undifferentiated sarcoma| Summit day: Teddy’s parents are sending his most prized stuffed monkey and constant companion, Little Charlie. Little Charlie is part of a pair and when Teddy couldn’t make it to class because he didn’t feel well from treatment, Big Charlie would take his place and Little Charlie would stay with Teddy. Since Little Charlie traveled so many places with Teddy, it made sense for him to represent Teddy as the team summits Mount Elbrus in his honor.
Thank You for Your Support
Follow the C45 trek as they begin their journey, summit to the top of Mount Elbrus, and through the descent. Become a fan on Facebook , visit the Climb for Five website, or follow their tracking device using Google maps by visiting www.trackourclimb.com.
Check out St. Baldrick’s most recent press releases here, or read another story, “World Famous Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon,” about a St. Baldrick’s supporter taking it to the extreme to support childhood cancer research.