What can I say and how do I start to describe how I feel about doing this hike?! Before the event was planned, I always wondered what it would be like to go on a hike up a mountain. But, I also never thought that I could do it! Having the kind of Cerebral Palsy that I do, I could not see myself doing something like that or making others help me get me up a mountain. I know how long it takes for a typical person to do something like that, and it takes me much longer. As Jeff and I started talking about how I could go on this trip, I didn’t think there would be so many people who would come and volunteer, especially with everything that has been happening this year. The weeks before the event, to be honest, I was not that nervous. I had typical feelings about hard questions that needed to be asked. Two questions that we had to answer were: How do we keep bears and other animals away, and what would happen if I got sick? With some brainstorming, we decided that a dog named Lady could stay in my tent to alert me and Jeff if there was an animal nearby. Lady is actually Jeff’s dog, but sometimes I like to call her my own. In regards to me getting sick, I actually got one of my headaches that I get often. I was okay getting to the halfway mark and to base camp. When I got out of the chair and laid down, however, I started getting nauseous and even threw up many times. I could tell that everyone was looking at me. They were wondering if I had altitude sickness and if I should go back down. When I get sick, it’s harder for me to talk. As I could see everyone getting worried, Jeff told them that it was a normal headache for me. I just needed a few hours to rest. By the evening, I rejoined the group. If Jeff didn’t know what I needed, I couldn’t have reached the end goal!If Jeff was busy, other volunteers stepped in to assist me with my care needs. I was never really too scared about having other people help me. I am used to having different people help me with my care. I was just excited to get to do something that I always wanted to do! Getting there and realizing how many people were there to help me get up this mountain was so overwhelming. I was emotional because I had so many people to help me have this once-in-a-lifetime experience. It was great seeing people who didn’t even know each come together to make it happen! When we saw the top, I started crying out of happiness! Having this experience means so much to me! A few people came up to me during the weekend. They told me I was a hero. Honestly, I don’t see it that way. I just wanted to do something that anybody else would do, if they like hiking I would like to thank everyone who volunteered so much! I would like to give a special thanks to Jeffrey Lockwood, the founder and organizer of The Lockwood Foundation. Without him and the volunteers, this wouldn’t have been possible.

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