The 2017 Everest Team

Join the 2017 Everest Team as we trek to Everest Base Camp on Monday, September 25, 2017. The trek will take us 120 km and 17 days to complete. To sign up for the 2017 Everest to End Duchenne trek, please email

Natalie Annis

2017 Everest Team member NatalieMy name is Natalie Annis and I am so excited to trek to Everest Base Camp in support of the Hope for Gus Foundation! Gus’s mom, Tonya, and I have been friends since middle school. Gus and the entire Dreher Family are a very important part of my life. Last year Tonya and I conquered the first half of the EBC trek, but did not have time to compete the entire trip. I can’t wait to stand at Base Camp and read the names of our boys with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, and to send our hopes for them out into the world.

Shae Annis

2017 Everest Team member Shae AnnisMy name is Shae Annis and I am 17 years old, from Alexandria Minnesota. I am a senior in high school and am taking college classes online. I met Gus and his family when I was very young through my mother, Natalie who is also on the 2017 Everest team. I quickly learned about DMD after meeting Gus and became interested in the Hope for Gus Foundation. I trained with my father, Kent when he went on the trek in 2015 and became even more excited about helping defeat DMD and the adventure of Everest. I can’t wait to go on the journey to base camp and help support the fight against DMD.

Chris Balch

2017 Everest Team member ChrisI’m Chris Balch and I am a former instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and 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 Steve and Tonya, it becomes impossible to do anything but get involved. They are strong, spirited and dedicated to ending Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy. When you get to know Gus… well, you just kind of lose your heart to him.

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. Two years ago, I traveled with a 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. Last year I traveled to Mt Whitney with the HFG team. We brought the names and faces of 100’s of DMD boys, and a few girls, to the summit. Upon returning home, I recuperated for three weeks, then hiked the 275-mile Long Trail, raising a total of around $5,000. All of the money went to DMD research.

This year I’m excited to return to Everest for many reasons! With the continuing breakthroughs and development of the CRISPR gene therapy, a real treatment is at last in sight. I’m also excited that just about the time we reach Everest Base Camp, my personal odometer will click over to 1,000 miles hiked for Hope for Gus. And finally, I’m excited to see the Himalayas and Everest again. I loved the Nepali people, and look forward to seeing some of the friends I made on the last trek again.

And finally, we will again be bringing the names of so many kids with us. These children will share this journey with us, and feel they are with us in spirit. At Base Camp, we will again read their names into the wind as a prayer of hope to be carried around the world.

Please consider donating to my Everest hike at GoFundMe.

Cathy Barker

2017 Everest Team member CathyMy name is Cathy Barker and I live in Austin, TX with my husband, Bob, and work as an IT Business Analyst for a communications company. I’m originally from Minnesota and my husband and I enjoy spending as much time there as possible during the summer months. I grew up with Tonya Dreher and first learned of Duchenne when her son, Gus, was diagnosed. I have followed their story and watched the work Tonya and Steve have put into the Hope for Gus Foundation for research and awareness. When Tonya asked if I wanted to be part of Everest to End Duchenne I thought what an amazing opportunity this would be. I’m incredibly excited for the trek to EBC, to do something just a little less ordinary and to support my friend, her family and everyone impacted by DMD.

Please consider donating to my Everest hike at GoFundMe.

Thomas Buchanan

2017 Everest Team member ThomasMy name is Thomas Buchanan, I am 19 years old, and I was born and raised in the wilds of New Hampshire. Being a true New Hampshirite I love being outdoors, camping, hiking as well as juggling. In 2015 I left home attend college in ME, but after a year decided it wasn’t the place for me. I returned home to the beginning of my gap year and began working and focusing on my art. I Learned about the Hope for Gus Foundation and the ETED trek through one of the team members, and was inspired to be a part of the great work they were doing!

Tonya Dreher

2017 Everest Team member Tonya DreherMy name is Tonya Dreher, founder of the original Everest to End Duchenne and mother to Gus, age 12. Gus lives with Duchenne and is the inspiration behind every single fundraiser done through the Hope for Gus Foundation. We created the foundation after Gus’ diagnosis and have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for medical research for DMD. But there is still not a cure.

Patrick Harvey

2017 Everest Team member Patrick HarveyGreetings all! My name is Patrick Harvey and am a husband, a father of two, work at Oracle and live in Mont Vernon, NH. My wife and I were introduced to Tonya, Steve and the Hope for Gus Foundation through mutual friends some years ago so we’ve been aware of the great initiatives that the Hope for Gus Foundation has been (and is continuing) to do. I’ve also known Chris Balch since the mid 90’s (I was lucky to have him as my Biology teacher at Souhegan High School) and about four years ago, Chris and I have had the chance to re-connect. He asked me if I’d be interested in joining the Everest to End Duchenne team a few months ago. It’s wonderful how there are moments where one’s stream can help feed a greater river. I’ve historically been a person who craved and engaged in adventure, human connections and supporting things that were beyond my own self. But sometimes (for various reasons) one’s stream meanders and I found that the course of mine had begun to flow a bit too inward. I became conscious of this over the past year and was giving it a lot of thought so it was serendipitous when Chris asked me to join the Everest team to raise awareness for DMD. Of course I’m looking forward to the Himalayan adventure and forming new human connections but what I’m most excited about is raising awareness and funds to help find a treatment for DMD. I’m glad that my stream along with others can help feed a greater river.

Gregg Kaloust

2017 Everest Team member GregMy name is Gregg Kaloust and I adore my six grandchildren, one of whom has DMD. I was on the first Everest to End Duchenne team, went to Mt. Whitney with the second group, and am now joining the 2017 team for the return to Everest Base Camp. I’ll keep climbing until I no longer can or until my grandson Griffin CAN!

Please consider donating to my Everest hike at GoFundMe.

Maxine Dunn

2017 Everest Team member Maxine DunnMy name is Maxine Dunn, from Peterborough, New Hampshire and I graduated from ConVal High School in 2013. I am a recent graduate of Hartwick College where I studied Nursing and Spanish. I was also a three-year captain for my college field hockey team. During my time at Hartwick, my field hockey team and I created a season long fundraiser for Hope for Gus. We reached our goal of $5,000 dollars. I want to take fundraising further which is why I decided to join the ETED team. I met Gus teaching swimming lessons over the summer of 2016 and has inspired me ever since. I am so excited to join the team and raise money towards a cure for DMD. This has been a dream of mine since I heard about the trek last year. After the trek, I will begin my career as a nurse.

Please consider donating to my Everest hike at GoFundMe.