What better week is there than MS Awareness Week to share my next adventure?
On my birthday, July 17, I will depart to Chamonix/ France, together with Mission Summit, a group of fellow kick-ass MS patients, some of their lovely partners, supportive friends and maybe even two small dogs with their own social media fan base, to start my biggest adventure yet – we will climb the Mont Blanc as first MS team ever to raise funds for MS research.
If you’re wondering why I never talked about alpine hiking and climbing, this will be my very first time 🙂 Instead of starting my alpine adventures on a random mountain in the Alps, I decided to start right away with the highest one, it rises 4,808 m (15,774 ft). BOOM.
Why oh why would I do that?
Our goal is to raise funds for a new MS study, Project Y, at VUmc which is not only my MS Center but also one of the top 5 MS research groups in the world. Project Y (“why”) wants to find out why MS progresses faster in some patients than in others and in order to find potential new therapies the underlying process must be found. All patients in the study group were born in 1966 and developed MS at some point but, typical for MS, the progression varies widely. Understanding how the progression works would make a huge difference for future treatments and hence quality of life.
To be honest, climbing a mountain was always on my bucket list and I LOVE to watch climbing movies and documentaries. It all happened by total accident and synchronicity, that’s why I’m convinced it is meant to be and it goes perfectly together with my other self-experiment, the Wim Hof Method🙂
Meant to be
9 days ago I got an email that offered me the last free spot on March 4 for the Wim Hof workshop I signed up for a in January but couldn’t go as I was very sick that week. The day after I left for a long weekend trip to Norway where I visited one of my best friends and finally found the time to finish the book “What doesn’t kill us: How freezing water, extreme altitude and environmental conditioning will renew our evolutionary strength” by Scott Carney. I was mind blown! Everything described in the book made so much sense and it’s a great read with easy to understand facts why cold and environmental conditioning is so good for us, especially for autoimmune disease. Basically, in a nut shell, we live too comfortable, we always have access to food, warm clothes, no need to walk long distances and, as a result, our bodies get pretty much bored and start attacking the immune system.
I returned last Monday evening, browsed Facebook and noticed the event from Niels and Mission Summit, an information eve about an upcoming Mont Blanc expedition. I signed up for it and 24h later I got a lift to the meeting from one of my very own inspirational MS heroes, Niels van Buren, who climbed Mount Everest in 2016 as the first man with MS. For the first time I met a group of MS patients JUST LIKE ME face-to-face, we all had an instant click and decided then and there we’d go for it, we will summit Mont Blanc to raise funds for MS research as our main goal is a world free of MS. Mission Summit’s motto is “Moving mountains for MS” and we’ll try to do that.
I attended my Wim Hof workshop yesterday and finished it with a long ice bath that proved to me again that EVERYTHING is possible.
Please watch this space and also my Facebook page as I’ll need your support to reach my goal the next months, it’ll be a lot of very hard training including climbing training, very long hikes with a heavy backpack and last but not least fundraising as I need to raise at least 1000 Euro for the study – I will share more detailed information in the next days and weeks.
Let me end this post with a quote by one of my favourite adventurers ( another highlight of my Norway trip, I went to the Kon-Tiki museum and saw the original balsa wood raft used for his expedition in 1947!)
‘Borders I have never seen one.
But I have heard they exist in the minds of some people.’