The 2016 Whitney Team
I am a former instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and I was a teacher and outdoor leader for 40 years. I taught at public and private schools around the northeast, and was the founding director of the Wild Quest Education Project for over a decade.
My connection to Duchenne is through my good friends, Steve and Tonya Dreher, and their son, Gus. When you get to know these folks it becomes impossible to do anything but get involved. They are strong, spirited and dedicated to ending Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy.
In 2013 I hiked 100 miles of Long Trail and raised a little over $2,500 for Hope for Gus. In 2014 I hiked again — over 250 miles this time, and raised $10,000 for Hope for Gus. Steve Dreher arranged for matching grants and the amount doubled to $20,000. Last year I traveled with the team to Everest Base Camp where we read the names of 750 children into the winds of Everest. I raised $5,000 for the Everest Trek.
This year I have raised around $3,500 and will continue to fundraise until I hit $10,000. All of the money will go directly to DMD research.
I might be getting older, but I’ll keep on hiking and raising funds for Gus and the other kids like him from around the world until we finally have a cure that will allow these children to live happy and healthy lives.
Last year, my wife led a team on a trek to Nepal — they took a flag bearing the names of hundreds of kids to base camp. She did that in order to continue to raise funds and awareness and to “hike for the kids who cannot hike.” In that same spirit, I am leading a team to Mount Whitney. It is the tallest mountain in the lower 48. As such, it offers a powerful symbol as we bring the names and images of thousands of kids with Duchenne to the summit on the “Tapestry of Hope.”
We have every reason to believe that medicine will emerge that can save this generation of kids with Duchenne. At the same time, these last seven years have shown us how important it is that we raise funds to push that science forward. Thank you so much for your support.
I initially wanted to join the Everest to End Duchenne crew, but quickly dropped out due to my fear of heights. So when the Whitney trip was announced, I immediately jumped at the chance to take part in such a great opportunity to raise money and awareness for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. Coincidentally, the day we summit Mt. Whitney, August 23rd, is the 10 year anniversary of when I moved to California, and I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the decade by bringing the hope of a cure to all who are affected by Duchenne’s. Thank you for your support!
My father, Chris Balch, is close friends with the Dreher family and became involved in the Hope for Gus Foundation several years ago. I’m finishing my degree in natural and applied sciences this year and since my course load is lighter, I finally have time to dedicate to this important cause. Please help support our team as we fight for those who can’t always fight for themselves.