Bill Der, who is legally blind due to glaucoma, is out to prove that disabilities are no obstacle to doing good, as he prepares to summit Mount Kilimanjaro this fall in support of two local charities.
Over the past five years, Bill has climbed the Grouse Grind Trail every weekend. On one such occasion, he came across a fellow Grinder who was carrying a thirty-pound backpack. She was in training to climb seven mountains in Asia, and she suggested that Bill try climbing Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa.
The idea stuck. Bill decided to undertake a significant event to mark a change in his life’s direction, as well as pay tribute to his wife of 35 years, Lana, who recently passed away.
Bill and his son Spencer, who will serve as Bill’s guide, will be symbolically accompanied on their journey by Lana, as her name will be carved into a special staff that they will carry with them. When they descend from the mountain, they will enter into a different future in which they intend to drive life, as opposed to being driven by life. It is merely the first step in their new mission to spend their energy and resources on helping others to reach their own summit of life, just as others have helped Bill to overcome his own challenges with deteriorating vision.
Bill has worked for The Answer Company for more than 15 years, and the company has been tremendously supportive through his battle with glaucoma and the loss of his wife. One of the major charities The Answer Company supports is the Down Syndrome Research Foundation. In gratitude, Bill will be supporting DSRF as he completes his inspiring journey. He will also be simultaneously raising funds for the Alzheimers Society of BC, and has set a goal of raising $15,000 for each charity.
Bill and Spencer Der will be blogging their Summit Challenge at http://mysummitchallenge.blogspot.ca/. Donations can be made to the Down Syndrome Research Foundation at https://fundraise.dsrf.org/BillDer, and to the Alzheimers Society of BC at http://anythingforalzheimers.ca/mount-kilimanjaro-summit-challenge/. On Twitter, Bill and Spencer will be using the hashtag #BlindvsKilimanjaro.
The 20th Annual Run Up for Down Syndrome was one for the record books.
What may have been the hottest day in Run Up history drew the largest crowd the event has ever welcomed, and obliterated all previous fundraising records.
860 runners and walkers, representing 40 teams, made their away around the campus of Simon Fraser University in support of individuals with Down syndrome. They were assisted in their efforts by an incredible team of over 125 dedicated volunteers who kept everybody encouraged and well-hydrated.
The Down Syndrome Research Foundation's goal of making 2016 the first ever $100,000 Run was not only met, but surpassed. Final totals are still being determined, but it appears we will break $110,000 in net funds raised - more than $27,000 above the previous record, set last year.
The 20th Anniversary Run Up for Down Syndrome was visually spectacular, with the landscape dominated by a brand new Run Up archway, unveiled for the special occasion. The arch was revealed by DSRF Executive Director Dawn McKenna, Bill Longman (founder of lead sponsor Euro-Rite Cabinets), and former DSRF student Jodi Klukas.
Euro-Rite continued their exceptional longstanding support of the event, entering a team of 127 runners, raising over $37,000 and winning the Spirit Award for highest staff participation. Euro-Rite was joined by almost 40 other local businesses in sponsoring the Run (please see the image below for a complete listing, and join us in thanking each and every one of them).
Each and every person involved - runners, sponsors, donors, volunteers - has made an incredible difference in the lives of many individuals with Down syndrome. Thank you for celebrating the 20th Anniversary with us, and for investing in the future of DSRF's students and families.
Join us again on June 4, 2017 when we kick off the next decade of Run Up for Down Syndrome!
Note: The fundraising website will remain open until the end of June, so there is still time to donate!