CLIMBING FOR A CAUSE
There are vacations, and then there are “vacations”. As many of us recently returned from Spring Break from the sun and sandy beaches, one individual’s idea of a vacation is very different!
Andy Land, who is from my hometown of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin has an upcoming trip to 29,035-foot Mount Everest, which he hopes to summit in May. This vacation belongs in a totally different type of vacation category! What caught my attention about this story, which was published in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, is that Land will do the climb to raise money for hospice programs around Wisconsin including The HOPE of Wisconsin, a hospice and palliative care unit at Agnesian Healthcare.
Land’s inspiring mission has a major impact on many people including me. My 100 year-old Grandma, who recently passed away, spent her last few months at the The Hospice Home of HOPE in Fond du Lac. The Hospice Home of HOPE is a comforting residence providing palliative care to individuals diagnosed with a terminal life expectancy of less than 6 months. My Grandma, Irene, was a smart, funny, incredible happy woman but due to her decline in health, my family simply could not provide the care that she needed at home. My family was so fortunate to find such a caring place for my Grandma at The HOPE.
Land, 52, began his mountaineering career about 25 years ago. Since then, Land has climbed major peaks in North and South America.
Perhaps because of his experience as a hospice nurse, the role of “expedition psychologist” has fallen to him on several of the major climbs.
“When others find out what I do, they often want to talk about their parents or friends who have died”, Land said. Often, they didn’t have the time to say what they wanted and needed to say like ‘thank you’, ‘I love you’, ‘I’m sorry’ or ‘I forgive you’. Like so many of us who work and help with the elderly, loved ones, and those who are ill, we learn so many things from people and their families, and end of life situations. Having those conversations is important. We’ve all lost people we loved. It profoundly affects our lives.”
The majority of us may not be able to climb Mt. Everest for such a great cause, but we can all learn and be inspired by Land’s experiences. To read more about Land’s climb, see climbingforhospice.org.