Lori Higgins
Lori Higgins

A Trip for Thomas
Friday, January 13
My husband, Dr. Thomas D. Higgins, passed away last year from multiple myeloma. “Tommy,” as he was known by his close friends and family, was the smartest, funniest and most focused person I’ve ever met. If he decided he wanted to set a goal or simply try something new, he didn’t talk about, he just did it. This trait of his has probably had the most profound effect on me since his passing. Besides the love and strength of his that I carry with me every day, I think about how he packed so much life into his short 44 and a half years, and how can I try to do the same with whatever time I am given in this life?
 
This is how I came to the realization that I needed to be a part of this trek up Mt. Kilimanjaro. Tom and I loved hiking and exploring new terrain. We incorporated hikes into every trip we took, and when we lived in California, we went on a hike every weekend. We loved the exhilaration that you can really only find from outdoor exercise. When Tom came home from his second business trip to Africa in 2013, he declared that we needed to start planning our leisure trip to the continent. He had hiked up Table Mountain in South Africa and had also gotten some recommendations for local areas to explore and restaurants to try.
 
In early 2014, we were in Hawaii, and while he was swimming in the ocean he loved so much, he felt his collar bone break. This ultimately led to the cancer diagnosis right after our return home and our lives came to a screeching halt. We tried as best we could to live as normal as possible between treatments and keeping our kids’ schedules on track. However, being tethered to a hospital for daily infusions, endless testing, managing side effects, and the fatigue brought on by the disease and the treatment is certainly not normal at all. I think of all that he endured, and how he did it without a second thought so that he could be here with us for as long as possible.
 
Nobody knows how much time we have in this life. I have a rare opportunity to try to make a difference by raising funds and awareness and, at the same time, get to visit this amazing country and carry Tom’s spirit and determination with me up Mt. Kilimanjaro. I’m so grateful to accept this challenge and am incredibly thankful to all who have supported me.
 
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