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Climbing a mountain for cancer research

Dr. Christopher Weight led a group of up Mexico's tallest mountain, Pico de Orizaba, in an effort to raise funds for cancer awareness and research.

MINNEAPOLIS - Have you ever climbed a mountain and turned around? Hiking can be quite the challenge.

“Actually none of us made it to the very tip-top,” explained Dr. Christopher Weight, an assistance professor at the University of Minnesota and a specialist in Urologic Oncology.

Weight led a group of juniors and seniors from the School of Environmental Studies in Apple Valley up Mexico’s tallest mountain, Pico de Orizaba.

“As we climbed, we would measure vital signs, blood pressure, oxygenation levels and we also did some mental tests and we kept track of how our bodies adapted as we got higher and higher,” he said.

In addition to learning more about how the body adapts to lower levels of oxygen, the students were on a mission up the mountain.

“We had each student matched up with a patient who has cancer and they were climbing in honor of that patient,” Weight said.

Eleven people were in the group and were climbing for 12 patients.

“We have been climbing for patients and raising awareness for kidney cancer, research and raising funding for about five years,” Weight added.

The goal is to raise $3,500 to create a scholarship for medical students.

So in the end, it wasn’t about reaching the summit.

“You know sometimes you win, sometimes cancer ends up changing the course and even if you give it your best, you don’t always get the goal you want. But, you always end up in a better place if you’re going after a valiant project,” Weight said.

It’s the journey that matters most.

“I think the most touching part to me was to see these young people interact, they reached out to the patients, called them, emailed them or got a sense of what it’s like to battle cancer,” Weight added.

If you would like to learn more about the hike or donate to the cause, click here.

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