But this week’s post is not about a movie or a section of a trail northwest of Toronto. It is about the support provided by the people close to me – the people who continue to stand by me throughout this journey.
No one person has stood closer by me than my wife, Jess. Her contributions to my success will be the least visible, but the most impactful. From packing my lunch while I’m off at the gym late at night to keeping our boys entertained while I hike for three plus hours each Sunday, she takes care of the little things. This allows me to focus on the big things – or in this case, the big thing as in Mt. Kilimanjaro. Without her, none of this would be possible.
On Sunday, Jess booked us a room at a country inn an hour outside of Toronto to celebrate my 35th birthday. Following an incredible tasting menu and accompanying drinks from the night before, we set out on our hike a little later than usual.
Our initial plan was to hike at Mono Cliffs Provincial Park, but when we found out that the Trans Canada Trail passed right by our resort we decided to hike there instead. This allowed us to return back to the resort and relax a little longer before heading back to the city – and reality.
The trail was flat and peaceful. We hiked almost 9km along the dirt and gravel trail. It was nice to actually enjoy some sunshine for a change given how much it has rained in the Greater Toronto Area of late.
In comparison to past hikes, this one was pretty uneventful. But that was what made it perfect – it was a great chance for Jess and I to spend some time alone for three hours and chat and laugh and connect with each other. For someone who generally celebrates his birthday with a massive party, it was a nice change to ring in thirty-five years in a low key manner.
ORANGE IN THE COMMUNITY
I’ve been sitting on this news for a while, but on Monday it became official that ING DIRECT will be supporting the campaign For All Canadians through #Climb4Cord. ING DIRECT will provide a $100,000 donation and in-kind sponsorship – part of which includes my participation in the climb as the social media lead.
“Giving of both our resources and time is a cornerstone of our philanthropic efforts, and we hope our contribution will impact the success of the #Climb4Cord campaign,” said Peter Aceto, our CEO, who has helped champion the cause.
One of the great things about ING DIRECT is that our participation in community activities extends well beyond the financial.
In fact, during our mandatory orientation, each employee spends one day in the community. I posted about my experience from 2012 when I joined 27 other new employees painting and refreshing properties for a local charitable organization in Markham.
Thank you to ING DIRECT for standing by me.
SOCIAL MEDIA AT NEW HEIGHTS
As I outlined, I’ll be leading the local social media efforts for the climb. I met with the good folks at Roadpost on Tuesday to finalize my tools for the trip.
I’ll be carrying two DeLorme inReach satellite communicators which will allow everyone to track our route on an interactive map. The devices also allow for our expedition to post directly to Twitter and Facebook from Kilimanjaro.
I was also introduced to an Iridium Satellite Phone and Iridium AxcessPoint, both of which will be coming up the mountain with me while on the trip. This combination will allow me to establish an Internet connection on the mountain and transmit blog posts and small images back to our team in Ottawa. This content will be distributed across a variety of social networks.
The team at Roadpost has been phenomenal. So thank you for standing by me.
Getting my body in shape has been no easy task. I’ve been working with Marshall for months now. We started with a lot of weight training to rebuild the muscles in my legs. Over time we shifted into more endurance training – think walking up five flights of stairs while wearing a 40 lbs. weight vest.
Now we are working on staying healthy through high rep, low weight full body workouts. We’ve also added in a lot more stretching to our routine.
To date, I’ve lost about 20 lbs. thanks to his help and the help of countless friends who have joined me for hikes each week. This includes Heidi and the #KillTheHillTO crew that gathers each Friday night to run sprints up hills.
- READ: Climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds (InsideToronto.com)
- READ: In his father’s memory (TownCrier.ca)
The other half of getting my body right is the restoration process. I’ve been working with Erin for about a month now. She’s been providing various forms of massage and athletic therapy, including acupuncture. Her healing techniques have been invaluable in getting me “right” before heading off to Tanzania.
While massage may sound relaxing, I can assure you that this isn’t your typical spa treatment.As you can see by the photo on the right, sometimes it involves interesting techniques to loosen things up, like suction cups. But boy does it work!
Thank you to Marshall, Erin and all my Kili-Hikers for standing by me.
RAISING THE BAR
Last, but certainly not least, I would like to recognize the nearly 200 people who have contributed more than $18,000 to the campaign through my personal page. Thank you for standing by me and supporting a cause that will truly make a difference in the lives of all Canadians.
The #Climb4Cord features a group of business leaders who will be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in August 2013 with the hopes of raising $750,000 for the campaign For All Canadians, which is dedicated to building Canada’s new national public cord blood bank. Click here to donate to my personal page or for more information on the campaign please visit: http://campaignforcanadians.ca/