By Alan Gionet

SEDALIA, Colo. (CBS4) – Only their headlamps pierced the darkness at the Platte River Trailhead north of Deckers. It was somewhere around 4:30 in the morning on Saturday when the shuttles arrived.

(credit: CBS)

Dozens of weary people poured out and clicked on headlamps. They were going hiking … a very long hike.

All of the participants weren’t just in it for the exercise. It was for the kids. This group was taking on the Trailblaze Challenge. The 23.7 miles would wind its way to Bailey.

(credit: CBS)

“This is a celebration it really is,” said former Wish kid Megan Fischer. “It’s a celebration of all that we’ve done and all the wishes that we’ve raised money for.”

Megan is a juvenile brain cancer survivor. She first attempted the hike last year, slogging the miles and several thousand feet of altitude gain. This hike came on her 25th birthday, but she was thinking of children and their families going through what she and her family went through.

“Celebrating them and that we get to make more wishes happen.”

Megan Fischer (credit: CBS)

Make A Wish Colorado figures there are over 250 local children waiting to receive their wishes. Each of the participants sought pledges for their hike. Among them, Molly Halpin and her two friends, Tess Arbogast and Vanessa McKee, who made up the team, “The Creative Adventure Girls.”

Molly loved what was done for her cousin years ago.

“And it really has been a journey though the entire summer. So I started with my cousin in mind.”

But she also has a friend with a daughter fighting cancer. “I’m hiking for Charley today,” she answered.

Make A Wish Colorado sets up the event with aid stations staffed by cheering volunteers. All through the summer there have been training hikes where the group bonded and learned. All are challenging themselves.

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“Everybody was asking me at work, ‘why are you doing this?’” said Marilyn Tillery. “It just feels right. I am going to make it. I might be the last one in, but I’m going to make it,” she insisted.

Michael Rhodes and Erin Button of Broomfield loved the camaraderie.

“We moved here from Chicago and didn’t know a whole lot of people and thought it would be a great opportunity to get outside and learn about our new home in Colorado and meet great people that are involved in a great cause.”

All of them together passed the miles, witnessing a beautiful sunrise. The weather stayed cloudy for most of the day, a blessing when marking off great distances.

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As Megan approached the finish she played her favorite inspirational song – even while being an inspiration to so many around her. She finished in about 11.5 hours, two hours faster than last year.

“I feel like I’m on top of the world right now,” she said.

Happy birthday Megan, a lot of people are glad you were there for it.

LINKS: Megan’s Make A Wish Effort | The Creative Adventurous Girls | The 2019 Trailblaze Challenge

Alan Gionet


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