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Above and Beyond: Cancer Survivors Trek to Everest

Experience the journey of the cancer survivors

On April 6, 14 Iowa cancer survivors boarded a plane in Des Moines headed across the world to Nepal. The group, led by Dr. Richard Deming, medical director of Mercy Cancer Center, Des Moines, IA, spent nearly three weeks trekking the Himalayan Mountains before reaching Mt. Everest Base Camp at 17,590 feet above sea level. Charlie Wittmack, Des Moines attorney and adventurer met up with the group at Everest Base Camp on April 18 as a part of his most recent adventure, the year-long World Tri, sponsored by Mercy Medical Center. The World Tri is a 10,000-mile triathlon stretching from London to the summit of Mount Everest.

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"Climbing a mountain is a metaphor that many cancer survivors use to describe their cancer experience," Dr. Deming said. "Only cancer survivors themselves can articulate the overwhelming sense of accomplishment they feel when they succeed in reaching the 'summit' of their cancer journey. But what every survivor will tell you is that, during the ascent, his or her perspective on life is forever changed," he added.

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The participating survivors represent at least six types of cancer including brain, breast, prostate, Leukemia, Hodgkin's Disease and Sarcoma, and range in age from 27 to 65. The group spent a great deal of time together before the trip for physical conditioning, team building and fellowship.

For a detailed account of their adventures, visit The World Tri website. Postings include special videos, breathtaking photography and a blog of their experiences and observations.

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