Yesterday, I chatted with Monique Dagher of South Holland, Ill., one of our SFS climbers from last year. I didn’t know at the time, but she apparently had quite a battle just to get healthy in time to climb Mount Hood last June. She summited on June 22. Here’s her story:
About a week before leaving for Portland to climb Mt. Hood, I became sick with a severe staph infection and had to have emergency surgery. I arrived in Portland with stitches in the back of my leg and worried if I was going to be able to climb or not. I was so frustrated because I had worked so hard at training and had completed my fundraising … standing at the Timberline and looking towards the summit, there was just no way I could give up. I told our guides from Go Trek and everyone on my team about my situation; if I was hindering the team in any way, I asked to be pulled aside and sent back down with a descending team if necessary.
As our ascent began at midnight, I started to feel the effects the infection had on me; the cold early morning air helped numb my leg, and I kept pushing on. I thought about all the kids that would benefit from Summit for Someone and that I could not give up; I thought about everyone back home encouraging me and knowing that I could do this; I thought about this little girl that was climbing at the indoor gym I work at – it took her almost a half hour to climb one of the 30 feet walls, but she did not quit and she did it.
A thousand feet from the summit, we all roped up and I remember thinking, “Please don’t send me back now!!” As Craig Van Hoy and I were the first on the summit, I was so overcome with emotion – a week before I was laying in a hospital bed and could barely walk 30 minutes on the treadmill and now here I was at the highest point in Oregon laughing and crying and so incredibly proud of myself.
I have so much admiration for Big City Mountaineers and Summit for Someone; SFS is truly a remarkable and inspiring program, both for climbers and the kids involved. It pushed me to greater heights and encouraged me to climb for a very worthy cause.