Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Jeffrey Gottfurcht

On May 14, 2011, Jeffery Gottfurcht became the first person with RA to climb Mt. Everest!! Diagnosed with RA 10 years ago, at the age of 28, he decided not to let RA take this life goal away from him. He has also done amazing things for arthritis awareness, including starting a foundation to help children with arthritis live their own dreams: the Jeffrey Gottfurcht Children's Arthritis Foundation.

Considering the complaining I've been doing about my hips lately, his accomplishment is hard for me to even fathom. I mean, we're talking about Mt. Everest here. But he did it. And I find myself inspired. 

Just yesterday I was talking with a friend about whether I would ever be able to hike Half Dome again - a hike APL and I have each done separately that we have talked about wanting to do together someday. The hike takes you to the top of one of the most famous images in Yosemite National Park, which APL and I share as one of our favorite places on earth and is only a few miles from where we got married. But since my diagnosis I have had my doubts about my ability to hike 16 miles with about 5,000 feet of elevation gain - not to mention the cables you have to use to actually climb up the back of the dome. I've been wondering if I could ever have the hand strength, leg strength, and stamina to do it.

But if Jeffrey Gottfurcht can hike Mt. Everest with RA, surely a little planning and preparation could enable me to hike Half Dome if I really wanted to. Maybe Half Dome is my Everest - and maybe someday I'll get to accomplish that goal too.

(Heard of any other good RA Factoids? Send them my way and I will post them!!)


Heather said...

Do it! One of my biggest goals is to participate in a swim that is coordinated by Save the Bay, here in RI. The swim is across the East Passage of Narragansett Bay, and is about 1.7 miles. I keep putting it off, and it would be so easy to use RA as an excuse, but I think maybe it will give me an extra boost - like I can prove that RA won't stop me!

~Mariah~ said...

HEATHER: Maybe we should both put those goals on our radars. ~;o) I will if you will!!

Heather said...