Daryl Olson
Daryl Olson

Caregivers Climbing for a Cause
Wednesday, November 30
Whoa, climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to raise money for multiple myeloma research? I was perusing the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation website, and my eye caught this crazy climb invitation. I knew the moment I read the article that this was something I needed to do!  It was all about not quitting, living life abundantly, not being afraid, facing life with courage and finding a way to make a difference.
 
My wife, Janice, had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma in April of 2014. She was a late-stage cancer case and was very sick. She is a fighter, and she has a strong faith. Together we took up the fight to learn as much as possible about multiple myeloma and how best to treat it. It was not easy, but the good fight results in unintended blessings. We have learned to number our days and to come to the keen realization that all of us have a terminal condition called life. It is not about the number of our days, but how we use each day.
 
In 2003, my best friend Bill floated the idea of traveling to Africa to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. We had climbed several peaks together in Washington State including Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, and others. That same year, Bill, Jeff, and I had already purchased our airfare for a climbing adventure in the Alps, which was to include the Jungfrau, Eiger, and Mt. Blanc.  A few months before our July departure date, Bill tore a tendon in his arm, so the trip had to be postponed. A few months later, Bill was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and was in chemo. Bill put up an amazing fight that was nothing short of inspiring, but three years later, he passed on. We never could climb again after his diagnosis.  
 
At the same time as Bill’s cancer diagnosis, I began having major trouble with my knees from osteoarthritis. I had three surgeries, and I thought my climbing days were over. But a few years later, I’d mostly worked through this issue. Then, at the same time Janice was going through her stem cell transplant in 2014, I experienced deep vein thrombosis and a pulmonary embolism. This set off significant atrial fibrillation. In July 2015, I had a heart ablation procedure, which was successful to relieve the AFib.
 
So yes, I’ll climb the mountain to raise money for multiple myeloma research, support Janice, and remember my friend Bill. To be climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is a minor miracle for me.  
 
So now, for such a time as this, may the Lord bless you, may His face shine upon you, and may He grant you His peace.
 
Lyrics from Marty Goetz
 
“O how we love this time this place, but it’s not our destination. We struggle, we strive to run this race, with all of the strength we can bring. Then, in what is but the blink of an eye, we finish our years like a sigh. So, help us now, Lord, show us how we can redeem days that pass like a dream.
And teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. Teach us to number our days, to be glad to rejoice in them. For a thousand years in your sight is merely a watch in the night. So, before they all fly away, teach us to number our days.”
 
 
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