Andrew Macrae, a fifth grade teacher at the British International School of Boston, began the Hike the Height of Everest project earlier this month, aiming to raise money for Dana Farber Cancer Institute. He hopes to inspire others to hike with him as well as gather sponsors and donors for his journey.
“Hiking is fun. Cancer isn’t,” he said. “I wanted to find a way to do something to support the amazing work that is done at Dana Farber in Boston. They have done so much for our family and we want to pay it back.”
The project is the result of the Macrae family’s year-long battle with cancer. His wife, Emily, also a local teacher, was diagnosed in the summer of 2014 with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His mother was also diagnosed with cancer around the same time. While his mother passed away in early 2015, Macrae’s wife is currently cancer free, after months of treatment at Dana Farber.
Now, Macrae said, he wants to give back to the hospital that gave his family so much.
“My aim is pretty simple,” he said. “To raise as much money as possible while actually getting out into the world and doing something to inspire others to do the same. The more I raise, the more can be done to research, treat and maybe one day eradicate Lymphoma.”
Macrae hopes his Hike the Height of Everest project will do just that.
From August 10-16, Macrae plans to hike to the summit and back of New Hampshire’s Mount Washington every day, a total of six summit hikes totaling 29,029 feet. He is inviting family, friends, his school community - and complete strangers - to hike with him. In addition to asking for donations for Dana Farber, Macrae is hoping to inspire others who are dealing with a cancer diagnosis personally, or within their family.
“I don’t know many people whose lives have not been touched by cancer in some way,” he said. “Nothing about it is good. Nothing about it is fun. We all come away slightly different people than we go in. I want to own the difference and make it on my terms...Hiking 29,029 feet will be my starting point. If I can raise some money which will help others then I’ll be even happier.”
Leading up to the week of hikes, Macrae will be gathering support for his trip and gathering donations. He hopes to raise at least $10,000 for Dana Farber, and has already raised more than $2,000 toward the goal.
Macrae said it’s been encouraging to see so much support for his project so far.
“I have been incredibly humbled by the support from our school community and my friends around the world,” he said. “At the moment, three families from my class are intending to hike one day with me. I’m just an ordinary Joe who wants to pay it back…and forward, too.”
To learn more about the Hike the Height of Everest project and find out how you can get involved, visit http://www.hikeforhodgkins.info.