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Adjust your headlamp
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Two weeks ago on a trail found somewhere between the middle of nowhere and a dense forest, 67 passionate, energetic hikers began a 30-mile walk in the park. Well … maybe “a walk in the park” is not the best way to describe it. Perhaps a grueling, elevation-changing, humid, snake-sighting, flash-flooding trek would be a better way to characterize these thirty miles. I should also mention we jumped on the trail starting at 3:30 a.m. wearing headlamps and were required to finish the miles within 12 to 15 hours. 

Many on the outside would view us, the participants in this endurance-type event, as one step away from crazy. Maybe they are right, but we keep coming back each year for more of the insanity. The more official name for the madness is Ultimate Hike for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. 

Of course, there is a driving force behind our passion to cross the finish line and it is in the form of a very large bunch of courageous kids. Whatever kind of discomfort we may experience on the trail cannot ever come close to what children fighting cancer endure. Recently, one of my sons said to me it doesn’t seem right to put those two words together: kids and cancer. 

No, it absolutely doesn’t, I told him.  

So, we hike for a cure. We hike for those kids who are no longer with us and we hike for the ones who are putting up the fight of their lives. All of us involved raise funds for CureSearch, a non-profit emphatically making a difference in children’s cancer research. CureSearch knows they are turning a once bad outcome into a good one for many children battling cancer. 

This year I participated in my fourth hike and soon I will be at the $10,000 mark in my fundraising. My initial connection with CureSearch coincided with my daughter’s best friend’s start with cancer treatments for a brain tumor. Our sweet friend, Asiana Rembert, fought the good fight against this awful disease for three years and she fought her cancer with strength so big. Her courage was amazing, like that of a warrior. Though it is with a broken heart that I say, this year, I hiked in Asiana’s memory, not in her honor, like I had previously. 

We miss her every day. Asiana’s grace and love won. Cancer did not.  

I will continue to do the Ultimate Hike until I no longer can. I hike with parents who have lived through unimaginable despair in the loss of a child to cancer. They represent the most amazing fortitude I have ever seen and I am proud to walk beside them in this fight against children’s cancer. I also hiked this year in honor of a beautiful two-year-old little girl named Collins who is putting up a huge fight against acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Collins should not be part of the 42 kids diagnosed with cancer every day. We will hike and fight for children like Collins! 

I truly believe people who are connected to something bigger and more important than themselves will always achieve joy and satisfaction from their participation. I know the Ultimate Hike and fighting for kids with cancer has done this for me.  During the awards ceremony on Sunday morning of hike weekend, we had a light moment in the middle of what has proven to be quite an emotional gathering. One of the hikers, Glenda, talked about her somewhat “dark” start in the hike. All hikers must wear a headlamp as we start hiking in the dark and do this for several hours until sunrise. Glenda could not figure out why she couldn’t see two feet in front of her on the trail and wondered how good her headlamp was working. After telling her coach of this very problematic issue she was having, he quickly figured out the problem at hand.  He said, “Glenda, your light is working great. All you need to do to see the bright light ahead of you on the trail is turn your headlamp around. You have it facing the wrong way.”  

Sometimes in life when we are caught off-guard especially in difficult times and we can’t seem to find our way, maybe all we need to do is simply adjust our headlamps to see the light again.