Hike for Hope, a 2 1/2 week hike across Switzerland, was organized by aplastic anemia patient Mark Stoesz to raise awareness for aplastic anemia and funds for AAMDSIF.
In his own words:
"Hi, I'm Mark Stoesz, a High School Principal in Ellsworth, WI and along with my friend Jeff Whipple, a Social Studies Teacher from Coolidge, Arizona and his son Eddie we will be participating in a "Hike of Hope" from June 20-July 6, 2016. We will be hiking the country of Switzerland from the Liechtenstein border (city of Sargans) to the shores of Lake Geneva and the city of Montreux. We will be hiking the Via Alpina Green Trail for the majority of this +230 mile hike.
I was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia in June 2012. This is a rare bone-marrow failure disease, but I am incredibly fortunate that my diagnosis was moderate Aplastic Anemia instead of severe or very severe Aplastic Anemia. Others are not as fortunate (including many children), but with the great progress being made in research there is hope. We are doing this hike to help raise funds to combat the three main types of bone-marrow failure disease; Aplastic Anemia, MDS and PNH.
The obvious question of course is "why Switzerland"? Pretty much, Jeff and I had always talked about doing it, we knew it would be a challenge for our +50 year old, out of shape bodies and ultimately I wanted to demonstrate that bone marrow failure disease wasn't going to slow me down from doing what I wanted to do (plus I knew Switzerland has plenty of great chocolate!). With permission from my doctor; Jeff and I started training over a year ago and after losing 75+lbs between us- we are ready to get hiking! Jeff, Eddie and I will be meeting in Sargans, Switzerland on June 20 and the Hike of Hope gets started that afternoon. We encourage you to follow our journey either on this website or via my Facebook site; most days will have a designated dedication of Hope that we encourage you to comment on. Our goal is to raise $15,000 for AA MDS International Foundation- we hope we have to adjust that goal upwards! Please consider giving to this great cause or simply post a note of encouragement and definitely share this website with your friends and family. Thank-you for your support and we look forward to hearing from you!!"
If you would like to learn more about his hike and/or support his event with a donation, please visit her personal AAMDS grassroots fundraising page: https://friendraising.donorpro.com/campaigns/75/personal/12947.
You can also follow his personal blog story of his hike: https://hikeofhope.wordpress.com/