Biotech journalist Luke Timmerman spends most of his time reading and writing about medical innovation. But now, he’s doing a lot more: Literally climbing Mount Everest to raise awareness, and cash, for cancer research.
Timmerman teamed up with Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to organize a campaign in conjunction with the Climb to Fight Cancer, which launched Thursday. The goal is to raise $175,000 for Fred Hutch’s cancer research efforts before he hits the trail March 27, 2018.
In a post on his biotech news site, The Timmerman Report, Timmerman said he was motivated by the pivotal moment cancer research is approaching.
“As a biotech journalist for 15 years, I’ve had the privilege to meet scientists around the country doing amazing work. I see a cancer revolution happening,” he said. “Fred Hutch is at the leading edge of cancer cures. Their pioneering research is helping people with many types of cancer live longer, and lead better lives.”
The advances Timmerman calls out include immunotherapies, which have shown huge success against certain types of advanced cancers, as well as technological advances that help us detect cancer earlier.
“We can’t let up — especially during this time of so much thrilling progress,” Timmerman said.
Like most research institutions, Fred Hutch receives a huge amount of funding through from government grants. If proposed budget cuts to institutions like the National Institutes of Health become reality, cancer research at Fred Hutch and other institutions around the country could be severely impacted.
The Climb to Fight Cancer has raised more than $8.1 million for Fred Hutch since it began 20 years ago. It’s one of the longest-running philanthropic climb efforts in the world and has made expeditions to Washington state’s Mount Rainier, Mount Denali in Alaska and twice to the Mount Everest base camp. Timmerman will be the first participant to attempt to summit Mount Everest. The trip will take him about ten weeks.
Luckily, Timmerman is no stranger to challenging climbs: He’s summited the likes of Denali, the tallest mountain in the U.S., and the even taller Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. He’s also summited Mount Rainier three times. This will be his first attempt to climb Mount Everest.