Mark Anderson is facing an extensive and invasive surgery on September 7th. Doctors have found he has two tumors: one is the size of a lemon at the base of his brain, and the other is the size of a egg wrapped around his cervical spine at C6/C7. If not treated, he will be paralyzed and could die. Here's Mark's story:
Mark Anderson was born and raised in the Seattle area. After achieving Eagle Scout, he joined the Mercer Island Volunteer Fire Department in 1976. He then moved to the City of Kirkland to be a professional firefighter, became a Lieutenant in 1989, served on the Hazmat Team for 20+ years, and retired from the Kirkland Fire Department in 2016 after 30 years of service.
In 2000 Mark was diagnosed with a baseball sized brain tumor. After surgery he was in a coma for 2 weeks. At the time he was told he would not be able to be a firefighter or climb anymore mountains, but he proved them all wrong and worked another 16 years. He thanks his two beautiful daughters, countless friends, and his fire service family for their support during that recovery.
Mark loves nothing more than to be in the outdoors teaching and educating others about hiking, climbing, kayaking, camping, rope and knots and drawing rescue systems. Mark has instructed thousands of people as Rope Rescue Specialist for the Peak Rescue Institute at Joshua Tree for the last 27 years. Mark has been a champion raising millions of dollars for the American Lung Association as a Chief Mountain Guide, and helped train over 2,000 people to climb Mt. Rainer, all to raise awareness of lung disease and research. Mark was awarded the American Lung Association's National Volunteer of the Year in 2013.
Marks dream was to build a small but warm cabin to share with his family and friends north of Anchorage Alaska and he just accomplished that dream about 6 months ago. While shoveling snow at the cabin, he noticed pain, tingling, and numbness down his arms that would not go away. After doctor visits in Alaska, he came back to the Puget Sound area where doctors found he has two tumors: one is the size of a lemon at the base of his brain, and the other is the size of a egg wrapped around his cervical spine at C6/C7. If not treated, he will be paralyzed and could die.
Mark is a fighter and is choosing to face this treacherous journey again. His goal is to return to his cabin and serve his family and friends their favorite breakfast, as they watch the moose and bears go through his front yard. It is possible the surgery will result with Mark being in a coma. Permanent paralyzation is also possible. Post-surgery rehab will most likely be necessary, and insurance will only cover so much.