Climbing mountains for a cure

Five mountains, five thousand dollars and a raised awareness of heart disease, stroke and healthy living; these are the goals of Erik Kroman, 22, and Hardik Patel, 22 who will climb to a cure this May.

Kroman and Patel are both graduating Wilfrid Laurier University students and “were looking for a good way to conclude [their] experience” at Laurier. Giving back to the community by working with the Heart and Stroke Foundation seemed like a strong venture to end their university career.

In an interview with Kroman and Patel, they expressed their passion for living a healthy and active life and how they ended up organizing an expedition to climb five different mountains across North America.

“It just seemed to all make sense, naturally evolve,” Kroman explained.

So the two planned a climb that will see them in Alberta, British Columbia and Alaska climbing mountains over 11,000 feet up into the sky. Each mountain holds its own obstacles and dangers but the trust the two climbers have in each other will make the journey seem more manageable.

They have set a goal of $5,000 but “the most important thing would be raising awareness for the cause,” Patel shared. The money raised during each climb will be dedicated to specific problems that the Heart and Stroke Foundation are faced with. The first two climbs will be dedicated to heart disease, the next two will focus on stroke and the final mountain will be conquered for the promotion of healthy living.

In preparation for the climb, aside from countless hours of both physical and mental training, Hardik and Patel have been working hard to promote the cause through their website but mostly by networking with the university and wider community.

When the duo started their mission they were greatly supported by the faculty of business (where they were both teaching assistants) and word quickly spread about the climb and the dangers of heart disease and stroke.

“Even if [the students] don’t donate or even if they don’t go to the site they are still reading their e-mail,” Kroman said, “and they still see that people are doing stuff like this.”

And this is key to the awareness that Kroman and Patel are trying to raise. As word spreads about the cause, more people are following the work they are doing. Only two days after the launch of their website they had over a thousand visitors and more continue to look at it.

“One quarter of deaths in North America [are] due to heart disease,” Patel revealed and that is just one of the shocking statistics list on their website.

“That’s why this charity makes so much senses because the effects are so wide spread,” Kroman continued, “100 per cent goes to [Heart and Stroke Foundation]”

As these to Laurier graduates get ready for their expedition next month, they look forward to informing more people about heart disease, stroke and living a healthy and active lifestyle while gaining support for the foundation.

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