Close your eyes and imagine yourself triumphantly taking one last step over the finish line of a 34-mile hike. You’ve trekked up and down hills, through rain and darkness, yet managed to complete the journey of a lifetime.
At that moment, most of us would experience vast amounts of self-fulfillment and achievement, but for two Charter Fitness employees, Dan C. and Roger M., crossing the finish line of the Ultimate Hike led to thoughts of others, not just themselves.
“I thought about the hikers still on the trail, especially those whose families had been directly affected by cancer,” said Dan. “One individual in particular wanted to finish so badly for his son. Roger and I were ready to go back in to make sure he finished the hike, but he made it on his own.”
The Ultimate Hike took place on October 20, along the Tecumseh Trail in southern Indiana and benefited CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to funding and supporting children’s cancer research as well as providing information and resources to those affected by childhood cancer.
The evening prior to the hike, Dan and Roger met the team of 13 others who would be taking on the trail with them the next day. A few team members shared stories of their personal battles with childhood cancer, some battles won and some lost.
“Listening to the personal stories really put into perspective the true reason we were all there to participate in the Ultimate Hike,” said Roger. “We tend to take our health for granted and let the everyday stresses of life get to us. Meeting parents of children who passed away from cancer really put what’s truly important into perspective for me.”
Throughout the hike, these personal stories served as inspiration and motivation for the whole team. The event became more than a test of physical strength; it became a fitness challenge with a purpose, helping others in need.
“The other hikers deserve more congratulations and thanks than I could possibly give,” said Dan. “These weren’t 20-something-year-old athletes or extreme sports adventurists, they were normal people who, that day, did something extraordinary.”
The Ultimate Hike is surely a day both Dan and Roger will never forget and would participate in again without hesitation.
“One of the hikers said something that really stuck with me, ‘If not now, then when? If not me, then who?’” said Roger. “Find a cause that motivates you and become active.”
We tend to talk a lot about exercise and why it is good for our bodies, both inside and out. While trimming down and toning up are noteworthy achievements, some of our greatest accomplishments come from what we do for others, not what we do for ourselves.
Dan and Roger extend a special thank you to all of those who donated and supported them throughout the Ultimate Hike journey. If you’d like to contribute to their fundraising efforts benefiting CureSearch for Children’s Cancer, please visit the Charter Fitness Cares Ultimate Hike webpage.