Hustle Header
Kari's Klimbers
Amount Raised
Fundraising Goal $20,000.00

Our Message

Thirteen…  I think that many of you know how special the number thirteen is to me – it’s on the sleeves of our team shirts every year.  That was copied from a shirt that was given to me when I learned of Kari…  It was the number Kari wore on her volleyball team.

2015 will be my 13th climb – it’s like my golden birthday!  And, it’s the 12th time my Kari’s Klimbers team has taken the stairs 94 floors, 1,622 steps to the top of the John Hancock Center for the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago.  The support I've received from friends, family, co-workers and the Respiratory Health Association of Metropolitan Chicago over the years has blown my mind. Because of so many of those generous people, since 2003 my team has raised well over $300,000 to support the Respiratory Health Association and help raise awareness and fund research towards curing lung diseases - and they've helped me raise awareness about organ donation.

But the reason I climb, and the reason I can climb involves the beautiful girl in the picture I’m holding.  Her name is Kari…

A little over 14 years ago, at dinner with her family in Iowa, Kari told her family how strongly she felt about organ donation.  Not long after that day, Kari passed away – and at the most devastating moment in their lives, Kari’s family honored her wishes and reached out and saved my life.  On April 8, 2000, Kari brought her beautiful smile into my life when she and her family gave me both of her lungs.

Over the past 9 years, more than a dozen of Kari’s friends, family and volleyball teammates have come out from Iowa, Minnesota, Kentucky and Aurora to climb with me.  Many of you know how I feel about Kari – can you imagine how it feels to be around the people who loved her, and the people who she loved?!?  And if that ain’t crazy enough – 12 years of the drugs I take to keep Kari’s beautiful lungs gradually destroyed my kidneys.  In 2012, one of Kari’s friends & volleyball teammates, Alex, gave me one of her kidneys!  It appears I’m slowly being rebuilt into a girl from Iowa…

I lived almost 40 years with lousy, cystic fibrosis lungs – I never, ever understood what it felt like to breathe “normally”…  Kari changed all of that.

In 2000, Kari saved my life – 12 years later, her friend saved my life again – but organizations like the RHAMC and crazy people who leap tall buildings with me, and people like you are also a big part of the reason that I’m still alive…  They raise funds for research and programs and treatments and they helped carry me to Kari’s door.  Funding research is one of the main reasons I’m still breathing…

In my picture, I’m holding on to the other reason.  Please consider organ donation – find your state’s donor registry and register – and tell your family how you feel.  I know a beautiful girl from Iowa who knew how she felt and she told her family…  I think about her every single day.

For more information, and my tribute to the beautiful girl who saved my life, go to:

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Our Team

Our Supporters (14)

Nanette donated $100.00
Feb 22, 2015 1:12 PM
Beth Chiet donated $25.00
Feb 22, 2015 10:13 AM
Karen Shinabery donated an undisclosed amount
Feb 21, 2015 4:48 PM
Anonymous Friend! donated $10.00
Feb 9, 2015 5:30 PM
Gary and Virginia left a message
Feb 6, 2015 2:04 PM
Have a great Hustle!
Virginia and Gary donated an undisclosed amount
Feb 6, 2015 2:03 PM
Steve & Mary Murphy donated $100.00
Jan 31, 2015 5:29 PM
Christine Peterson donated $100.00
Jan 31, 2015 1:31 PM
Thomas Scott donated $100.00
Jan 31, 2015 1:12 AM
Carolyn Murphy donated $50.00
Jan 30, 2015 9:21 PM
Joanne Libfeld donated an undisclosed amount
Jan 30, 2015 9:13 PM
Donna (OPCC) donated $25.00
Jan 30, 2015 1:44 PM
Louise and Tom donated $200.00
Jan 25, 2015 4:52 PM
The other Steve left a message
Nov 3, 2014 7:54 AM
Go Steve! Looking forward to climbing with you and your great group of friends again.