DENVER (CBS4) – Nothing says “Colorado” like climbing a 14er, and this summer one Coloradan is celebrating an amazing accomplishment that was years in the making.
Brian Wilcomb has been climbing 14ers for 16 years and recently completed his 54th. But he’s not just climbing the mountains for fun – he’s doing it for a good cause.
Roasting marshmallows around the camp fire is how Wilcomb prepares for a 14er.
“You’re over 14,000 feet and the air is thin no matter what, so none of them are easy,” he said.
He was with friends and family when he finished the journey.
“I love the outdoors. I like hiking, climbing.”
Wilcomb had a hearty breakfast because it was important he had the fuel to get up the mountain, but it’s even more important he had the right fuel.
“I’ve been a diabetic a long time — 48 years.”
While he climbs mountains, Wilcomb has insulin with him and he tests constantly.
“You really have to watch your blood sugars.”
Wilcomb’s friends, family and Rotary Club members followed close behind. The trek up the mountain was more than a challenge — it’s was a mission. They raise money to send children with diabetes to camp.
“It’s scholarship money for underprivileged kids.”
Camp Colorado hosts around 260 children with diabetes for a week of classic camp fun. In a life full of watching and worrying, managing and monitoring, it is a respite for the children.
“I went to a camp, to a similar camp, when I was 11, and it changed my life,” Wilcomb said.
So the steps that were taken are changing lives too. Every year Wilcomb and his crew raise about $6,000. This year it will be about $8,000. That will send possibly 15 kids to camp next year.
“That feels great, and we’ll keep on doing it.”
WIlcomb and his friends summitted Gray’s Peak, his 54th mountain. His accomplishment is also a tribute to a life lived fully, despite diabetes. He’s not done yet. He’ll continue to climb 14ers and raise money for the American Diabetes Association. Those who would like can join him. He says all they have to do is raise $100.
The American Diabetes Assocation is putting on the “Tour de Cure” bike ride. It’s coming up Aug. 16. There’s a route for every fitness level, so sign up now.