Boulder resident Matt Hardy has an important reason to summit Everest. It was his father’s last request before dying of colon cancer in 2007, that his son, also a climber, spread his ashes atop the world’s highest peak to satisfy an unfulfilled life’s dream of climbing big mountains.
Hardy, who was 22 years old at the time, decided he could do even more, in the form of raising funds for research and advocating the importance of screening. Even though colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States, with 50,000 deaths per year, Hardy says people aren’t aware of the vital importance of preventative screening because they aren’t comfortable dealing with that area of the body.
“A colonoscopy would have saved my father’s life,” he says.
Shortly after the inception of Hardy’ non-profit, Climb for Colon Cancer (C4CC), his friend and climbing partner Evan Sloane was diagnosed with stomach and colon cancer. Sloane passed 10 months later in November of 2008. Hardy threw himself into C4CC, setting an aggressive plan to climb 100,000 feet to raise $100,000, culminating with the Everest climb to fulfill his father’s wish. Heeding one of Sloane’s suggestions, Hardy chose to donate all funds to the University of Colorado Cancer Center in Denver to support the most cutting edge research – the pilot projects that cannot yet receive full funding from the National Institute of Health.
Already two climbs into fulfilling its goal, C4CC has some upcoming availability: two slots for Aconcagua in January 2011, five for Cho Oyu in 2012, and five for the grand finale – Everest in 2013. To claim one of the openings, you must pay your own way and pledge to donate at least an additional $1,000 for Hardy’s cause. “And you can’t be a douche bag,” he says.
Everyone (d-bags included) can donate: climb4coloncancer.org