The 7th Annual Summit for Life Event in Aspen on Dec. 7-8 will raise money and awareness for organ and tissue donation. I participated last year and many of you made donations in my honor. This is a great event, full of energy and enthusiasm to celebrate second chances. My husband was given a second chance four years ago. Below is a video from the event last year. See if you can spot my cameo appearance.
This year, I’m making my donation in honor of Chris Klug. In 2000 Chris received a life saving liver donation and then went on to win a bronze medal in the 2002 Salt Lake Olympic Games. When my husband was waiting for his liver transplant and heard about Chris’s story, he was motivated and hopeful. Chris gave John the hope and drive to get through the ordeal. Since meeting Chris and participating last year, I can say he’s one hell of a guy. His enthusiasm for life is infectious. Being a part of Summit For Life last year was fun and exhilarating. It is a celebration of life.
Today Chris heads the Chris Klug Foundation, which promotes donor awareness and puts on great events such as Summit For Life. Today 116,000 people are waiting for lifesaving organ donation. One donor can save 8 lives through organ donation and enhance 100 lives through tissue donation. 90% of Americans support organ and tissue donation, but only 30% take the necessary steps to becoming a donor. Thanks to people like Chris Klug, this is changing.
Please visit Chris’s donation page and support the cause.
The Summit for Life is a weekend celebration of donor awareness activities in Aspen, Colorado centered around a nighttime uphill race benefiting the Chris Klug Foundation. The 6th Annual Summit for Life event goes off this weekend, December 9th and 10th, and I couldn’t be more excited. Combine a rando rally with the chance to save lives through organ donation, and you have two of the most precious aspects of my life combined in one awesome event. As a racer and participant, I’m trying to raise $500. Help me raise funds by clicking on my fundraising page.
Founded in 2003 by liver transplant recipient and Olympic Medalist snowboarder Chris Klug, the Chris Klug Foundation is dedicated to promoting lifesaving donation and improving the quality of life for donors, donor families, organ transplant candidates and recipients.
It’s a great cause and a great opportunity to save lives while participating in an awesome event. Anyone interesting in racing or attending any of the other awesome weekend events, check out the Summit for Life website. High-five!
Here’s the video from last year’s event. Now that it’s getting closer, I’m hoping I can keep up at that altitude. Regardless is a great event for a great cause. Besides, today is my birthday. Instead of sending me a gift, which I know all of you were about to do, go to my fundraising page and support tissue donation. You rock.
Today is the day.
The Next 15 Minutes is now IN STOCK and available for purchase. I think I’ll go over to my local bookseller (or two or three) and just gaze at it on the shelf.
In case you’re still on the fence, and aren’t sure if you want to buy the book, have I mentioned that Ingrid Backstrom wrote the foreward? Or that the book opens with a scene of me throwing explosives out of a helicopter.
Here’s what others have said about it:
“When I read memoirs or listen to a speaker, I want to learn and I want to be inspired. Kim and John’s story does both. Everyone has a story to tell and Kim tells their’s well. Kim and John’s lives will inspire all readers and allow us to pull lessons learned from their lives and struggles. We as reader gains strength and hope through the sharing of their story.” Phil Ershler, AMGA Certifitied Alpine Guide and author of Together on Top of the World
“Kim’s positivity and grace under pressure is incredibly inspirational. Her story is a joy to read, and it reminds all of us to get outside with the ones you love.” Ingrid Backstrom, Professional Skier
“As a transplant surgeon, I witness the immense physical and psychological challenges facing patients with a life-threatening illness. Ms. Kircher weaves her experience as a ski patroller high in the Cascade Mountains with the current battle against her husband’s liver disease with intense emotion and heart-wrenching detail. As she draws on her prior high-adrenaline experiences to face the current challenge of her husband’s illness and pending transplant, it leaves the reader feeling breathless, as if they are standing on the edge of the mountain with both husband and wife…This book is a fascinating memoir for any reader, and especially one who may be in the midst of or recovered from their own major adversity.” Julie Heimbach, Transplant Surgeon, Mayo Clinic
“The Next Fifteen Minutes is a profoundly courageous and honest exploration of Kim and John Kircher’s journey together during John’s nearly fatal battle with liver cancer. Their lives together in the mountains they love so much are the backdrop, and the lessons Kim has learned as a professional ski patroller give her the strength to make it through a harrowing year.” Dan Nordstrom, President and Owner of Outdoor Research
“In the year leading up to her husband’s liver transplant, Kim Kircher triumphs over the long wait and harrowing diagnosis by drawing lessons from her life in the mountains. As a ski patroller, she witnesses tragedy and triumph, dark storms and sparkling beauty, and learns how to fight for her husband’s life, offering him the support and partnership necessary to weather the storm.” Chris Klug, professional snowboarder, Olympic medalist, liver transplant recipient, author of To the Edge and Back: My Story from Organ Transplant Survivor to Olympic Snowboarder
So get out there and buy the book already.
Chris Klug and John Kircher, both post-transplant
Chris Klug, Olympic snowboard medalist, wants to increase organ donation awareness. Like John, Chris was diagnosed with Primary Schlerosing Cholangitis and told he would need a liver transplant someday. Not only did Chris receive the surgery, he also went on to win a a bronze medal in Salt Lake just eighteen months later. I’ve written about Chris before, but I wanted to let you all know a little more about him and an upcoming event for donor awareness.
John and I had the chance to meet Chris at the Vancouver Olympics, and he’s a truly amazing guy. I’m currently planning my upcoming book tour, and one stop will be in Aspen in December so that I can join Chris in his Summit for Life event. His mission is to raise awareness for organ donation through this uphill skiing race/fun run. I’m looking forward to joining Chris and his Donor Dudes in December. The event starts at the base of Aspen Mountain. Participants ski, snowshoe or can even take the gondola to the top of the Sundeck at the summit. Last year, 400 people participated.
Donor Dudes are like ambassadors, spreading the message of organ donation to young people. Through his charisma and positive attitude, Chris works to recruit the “dudes” to help spread the message. I love this part of Chris’s foundation. Not only is he getting the word out, he’s also offering a road map to young people showcasing how to make a difference.
Anyone up for a fun, athletic event that will contribute to saving lives and furthering Chris’s awesome message should join me in December. Check out Chris’s website for registration information.
In 1991 Olympic snowboard medalist Chris Klug was diagnosed with primary schlerosing cholangitis (the same diagnosis my husband received), and nine years later, like John, Chris needed a liver transplant. When John first received the news, he mentally calculated the time the surgery would take out of his life. His first question was, “When can I ski again?”
I had just read Chris’s book, To the Edge and Back, about Chris’s battle with PSC, his liver transplant and his subsequent rise in snowboard racing. When I told John that Chris was back on his snowboard is less than two months, John smiled.
“Not bad,” he said. “I can do that too.”
Last winter, John and I met Chris at the 2010 Olympics. Cypress, a ski area in our company, hosted the snowboard and freestyle events. At a pre-race event John and Chris exchanged stories and compared scars (think a mercedes logo or an upside Y that covers the entire abdomen).
The two most remarkable things about Chris are his attitude and his compassion. He truly cares about other people, and that’s why he started the Chris Klug Foundation to spread the message about organ and tissue donation, with hopes of “promoting lifesaving donation and improving the quality of life for donors, donor families, organ transplant candidates and recipients.” Not for himself (he already got his transplant), but for the more than one hundred thousand people waiting for life-saving organ transplants.
Chris has dedicated his life to donor awareness, signing up countless people for organ and tissue donation. He travels across the country bringing his message to his “donor dudes”. Chris is a true hero. Check him out at www.chrisklugfoundation.org. His work is inspiring.