Tarrytown Man to Climb Mt. Washington to Raise Funds for Blood
by W.B. King –
As the highest peak in the Northeastern United States at 6,222 feet, New Hampshire’s Mount Washington has been traversed by countless visitors throughout the years. On June 28, 22 hikers from around the country, including Tarrytown’s David Janes, will ascend the mountain to raise funds to fight multiple myeloma.
“The main impetus was that my father developed multiple myeloma and I was searching for a way to inspire him and my mom,” said Janes, who has lived in Tarrytown for 20 years.
According to the National Cancer Institute, multiple myeloma is currently an incurable blood cancer that gives patients less than a 50 percent chance of survival beyond five years, although some patients can manage symptoms, and life expectancy can be extended by the use of certain treatments.
“I wanted to do what I could to help fight the disease by raising funds to help improve treatments and find new medicines,” added Janes, 46.
While he has long loved the outdoors, including participating in hiking clubs while living in Hawaii and Virginia, Janes enjoys visiting Rockefeller State Park Preserve either for a hike or for a run. He added that his wife and son (who attends Washington Irving School) will make the trek to New Hampshire to cheer him on.
“They will come up to Mount Washington with me but won’t be hiking it,” said Janes. “The weather and conditions are unpredictable, so that morning’s weather will dictate the precise route we take. We have an expert guide leading the group, and we will stay at a hut overnight before descending the next day.”
Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma is a collaboration between CURE Media Group, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and Celgene. Since the program began in 2016, there have been a total of 221 climbers, including 55 myeloma patients. In total there has been 12 mountain climbs at various locations. Fundraising support for the upcoming Mount Washington climb, as well as for the forthcoming Iceland Trek and Patagonia Trek, has raised more than $441,000 (as of May 6).
With just over $3,760 funds raised to date, Janes has surpassed his initial goal of $2,500 and hopes to break his new goal of $5,000 by the time he sets off to climb the mountain. And while he has yet to meet his fellow hikers in person (as they are geographically dispersed), they have been connecting via social media.
“We have a dedicated Facebook page and recently had a team call so that we can begin to get to know one another before the hike,” he noted. “All participants have different relationships with the disease and it has been helpful and inspiring to hear everyone’s stories and to see a group of people come together for a good and important cause.”
When not contemplating his next outdoor adventure, Janes works as a senior advisor for Institutional Development at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST).
“This is a dynamic, global, new university in Japan that aims to work on some of the most cutting-edge science research on issues that impact all of us. I help the university connect with scientific foundations and institutions in the United States as well as with leaders in the U.S.-Japan community who are interested in deepening relations between both countries,” said Janes. “I also co-founded a not-for-profit, EngageAsia, which trains U.S. K-12 teachers to teach about Asia and trains teachers in Asia to teach about the United States.”
While Janes is excited to reach the summit of Mount Washington, he has his sights set on an even greater goal.
“Programs like this have the power to build community, which I believe is something we need much more of,” he said. “Climbing the mountain is secondary. I am most looking forward to meeting others who have embarked on this journey.”
For more information or to make a donation, visit: https://www.movingmountainsformultiplemyeloma.com/mountwashington19.