This is my tenth climb...  When I come out of the stairwells at the top, and I do believe I will come out, I'll have climbed 16,320 steps for the Respiratory Health Association at this awesome event!!!

The year started out rather crazily...  On Christmas Eve I was in emergency surgery after a renegade gall stone the size of an angry, small dog (or mothball) tore through my gut...  An incredible surgeon, who is scheduled to do my kidney transplant, removed my gall bladder, my appendix, 6" of my colon, put it back together, hosed me out and sent me on my way with an awesome 10" scar up the middle of my belly!  A few weeks ago, she gave me permission to climb, sloooowly, and I promised I'd stop if my body says stop...  And I will.

I've got 150 crazy people on my team, climbing with me...  Among them, there are around 25 people who were classmates, teammates, grew up with, taught, coached, or knew and loved Kari...  Kari's sister & cousin are climbing with me...  Kari's mom & aunt will be here, cheering us on...  #15, #12, #9, #8, #7, #4 and #2 will be in the stairwells with me...  Kari was a star middle-hitter on her Algona High School volleyball team -- she wore #13...  Her teammates will be in the stairwells with me, and some of them are bringing their moms!!  One of her coaches, and one of her teachers will be with us too...  They're all coming out from Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois to help me honor their friend and my hero...  Can you imagine what I feel like when I'm surrounded by people who grew up with, and knew and loved Kari?!?!  It's pretty amazing...  They're beautiful people -- and they give me a glimpse of who Kari would have become...

I do this to tell people about Kari, and about her goodness, and about the goodness of organ donation -- and we also do this for the Respiratory Health Association...  They fund research in lung disease, they help people stop smoking -- their work helps everyone breathe cleaner air...  They help people with lung disease breathe easier...  I know what it's like to breathe with diseased lungs, and now I know what it's like to breathe with the most beautiful lungs in the world...  One of their mottos has been, "if you can't breathe, nothing else matters..." I've lived through that motto -- and the RHAMC and all of these people who climb with me help other people breathe.  We have a very special mission...

I know that these are not the best of financial times for many of us...  If you have a couple of bucks burning a hole in your pocket, I or anyone else on my team would love a pledge...  But more than anything, I'd love it if you would check out my little website and read about the beautiful girl, and all of the people surrounding her, and me, who have allowed me to leap tall buildings...

To see my Hustle page or pledge me, click here...

To see my website about Kari, go to  www.ClimbingForKari.org

To find someone on my full Kari's Klimbers team, click here...

These climbs have meant so much to me...  Being surrounded by people who know and loved Kari, and by people who know and love me, is something that defies description...  And the support we've received from people like you has allowed me to tell so many people about Kari...  In the past 10 years, we've raised a quarter million dollars -- because of people like you...  Thank you...  I get to do a fair amount of public speaking, and often enough, when I walk into a room, more than one person pulls me aside and says, "You're the one who climbs a hundred stories with your new lungs, and with your donors' friends!!!" And often enough, they already know Kari's smile...  I am that guy, and I'm proud of that -- and more than anything, I want them to know her smile.  I will have had her beautiful lungs for 12 years in April -- and what she has allowed me to do is more than I'd ever dreamed possible...

And finally, and very important to me -- please consider organ & tissue donation, register to be a donor on your state's registry, and tell your family how you feel.  I know a beautiful girl from Iowa who knew how she felt and she told her family -- I think about her every single day.

Love, Steve

Steve Ferkau
Chicago, IL
Kari's Klimbers
BreathinSteven@gmail.com
www.ClimbingForKari.org


CBS interview from Jan 27, 2011:
http://chicago.cbslocal.com/video/6680773-lung-transplant-recipient...

My Christmas adventure:
http://revivehope.typepad.com/revive_hope/2012/01/what-i-did-on-my-...

My full Hustle link:
http://my.imisfriendraising.com/personalPage.aspx?registrationID=29...

Views: 45

Tags: Cystic, Ferkau, Fibrosis, Hope, Revive, Steve, double, lung, transplant

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Comment by Hostess Risé on March 2, 2012 at 7:58pm

http://revivehope.typepad.com/revive_hope/2012/02/this-is-what-its-...

Here is a link to the Climb. Steve is truly an inspiration. He lives life to the fullest in every stretch of the imagination.

Comment by Hostess Risé on February 17, 2012 at 7:52pm

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