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Kari's Klimbers: Leaping tall buildings...
Amount Raised
Fundraising Goal $20,000.00

Our Message

2019 will be my 17th climb – and it is our team’s 16th climb!  This will be the 16th 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 18 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 14 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 39 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 (8)

Jeannine Hopfensperger and Thomas Teal donated $250.00
Feb 28, 2019 10:41 PM
Jessica Vercellino donated $100.00
Feb 23, 2019 9:00 PM
Linda Garrity left a message
Feb 21, 2019 5:39 AM
Looks to be another festive year at the Hustle..love the tie-dye shirts! Your "Fearless Leader" and I will be with you all in our hearts and minds..with profound gratitude for all of you! XOXO
Linda Garrity donated $100.00
Feb 21, 2019 5:36 AM
Lynne Mulvey donated an undisclosed amount
Feb 17, 2019 10:00 AM
Anonymous Friend! donated an undisclosed amount
Jan 28, 2019 9:56 PM
Tom Deske donated $100.00
Jan 25, 2019 11:55 AM
Tony Connolly donated $75.00
Jan 24, 2019 9:24 AM