Doing something 'fiendishly simple, but brutally hard'. There's something attractive about that challenge that appeals to my want to take tangible action and to do more to do good in this world", says James Carroll, National Director of Mission Without Border Canada as he describes the concept behind an upcoming fundraiser supporting families in need across Eastern Europe.
Donate to the the Everesting for Eastern Europe campaign here
"Helping those in need with a hand up so they can build a better future for themselves is something I work at everyday. I work primarily on raising awareness of the mission from behind a computer screen in these COVID-restricted days, unable to interact in person with supporters and even my staff, and now I want to take a bit more action," Carroll says.
Now that the Ontario lock-down is coming to an end he is combining two of his passions - endurance cycling and helping others - in the "fiendishly simple, but brutally hard" challenge of Everesting. That's climbing 8,848 vertical meters (the equivalent height of Mt. Everest) on one hill, in one day, all to raise awareness and funds to help families in urgent need in Eastern Europe.
8,848 vertical meters can be hard to imagine. It's 16 times the height of Toronto's CN Tower, 23 times the height of New York's Empire State Building, as well the average cruising altitude an airliner.
Everesting has become a little bit of 'a thing' in the cycling community due to all the races and rides being cancelled because of global COVID lockdowns. Thousands of professional cyclists and weekend warriors have taken on the challenge over the last year, but only a select few have successfully completed it. Many of the world's top athletes have described the challenge as the hardest thing they've ever attempted. And many call it just plain crazy.
So why do something so difficult? To raise awareness and bring attention to a need not many think about. Very few people are aware there are so many in Eastern Europe that don't have the resources or opportunities most would expect when they think of 'Europeans". Mission Without Borders and the work it does is focused on helping families in six off the poorest nations in Eastern Europe - Albania; Bosnia-Herzegovina; Bulgaria; Moldova; Romania, and Ukraine. Each country has its own unique challenges, but the common thread is faltering economies, lack of employment, violence and the lack of hope for parents to raise their children in a safe, healthy environment.
The Everesting challenge will be both physical and mental as the effort will take anywhere between 22 and 24 hours of non-stop riding, completing 60 repetitions of a 5.2% grade hill near the Noisy River Provincial Park near Creemore, Ontario. The challenge for the rider is relatively small in comparison to the challenges families in Eastern Europe face every day as they struggle to find consistent work and provide a safe home for their children. It is a symbolic effort in an attempt to show families there are people across the world that care.
The Everest for Eastern Europe is scheduled for June 19th and 20th to take advantage of the Summer Solstice and the extended daylight hours. Anyone interested in joining the ride for a few climbs can reach out to James Carroll via email at: email@example.com