Even though it's been two years since I was last here in Kathmandu, it feels like I just left. I'm trying not to spend much time thinking about the circumstances that led to my aborted attempt at the summit of Everest in 2008. Sometimes in life things happen and we just have to deal. At altitude, in the mountains, especially high up in the Himalaya, climbers find themselves staring down adversity. For those of us fighting Crohn's disease and living with an ostomy, it's just more difficult. But I made the decision long ago that inflammatory bowel disease and my ileostomy were not going to prevent me from living my life how I wanted to. As soon as the last trip to Everest was over, I started planning for my next attempt.
So here we are, two years later, and a lot has changed. I've moved, celebrated the birth of my daughter, and continued to work hard to build partnerships for the non-profit organization I founded: IDEAS. The Intestinal Disease Education and Awareness Society is proud to be involved with the Great Comebacks® program and we were very happy to celebrate the 2009 national winner, Tony Bell, in Washington, DC just a few short weeks ago.
I'm excited to have Tony join me on the trek into Everest base camp this year. Tony is an inspirational individual and I'm excited the Great Comebacks® program website has undergone some changes to make sharing the inspirational stories easier. Tony's charm will be infectious in the mountains of Nepal, his positivity will raise the spirits of the other IBD Adventures trekkers and his stories told on GreatComebacks.com will be sure to inspire people around the world.
This year we've got a great group of trekkers joining a very small climbing team on the 12-day walk into base camp. It's going to be a challenging feat for each of these adventurous souls just to get to the bottom of the top of the world. IDEAS started the IBD Adventures treks as an awareness and fund raising program in 2009. We had a very successful trip to Kilimanjaro in September, and this, our second trek, is already shaping up to build into even more success. We've got five people living with an ostomy coming to Everest base camp, each determined to prove to themselves, and everyone who will listen, that having an ostomy won't prevent their dreams from being achieved. It's hard to put into words just how fantastic that is!