Hi everyone! My name is Max Mona and I am looking to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania from July 19-26 with the goal of raising over $5,000.00 to support further research for the Immune Deficiency Foundation (IDF). The IDF is the national patient organization dedicated to improving the diagnosis, treatment and quality of life of persons with primary immunodeficiency diseases through advocacy, education and research.
This worthy non-profit organization has helped raise awareness for people battling immunodeficiency diseases like my younger brother Cameron who has been diagnosed with Common Variable Immune Deficiency (CVID). Here is his explanation of the disease, the outreach of IDF, and what it is like to live with it:
"Growing up, I was always sick. I don't remember a time when I didn't have an infection or crippling fatigue. I didn't know what to make of it when I was little as that was just life to me. When I was around 10 years old, that changed. After my mom fought through most of my childhood to make sure I was treated correctly, my immunologist diagnosed me with Common Variable Immune Deficiency. At the time, I didn't really care. This was mostly because I was a 10 year old more worried about video games and baseball. Also, my diagnoses throughout my life were abundant, so a new one was just something else to add to the ever-changing list. I didn't care then, but looking back, that day was one of the better days of my life. My diagnosis and treatment thereafter has allowed me to come as close as I can to waking up and feeling "normal". After a long hiatus from playing baseball, I've been able to play Varsity at my high school for the past two years and have been able to follow my true passion, music. The Immune Deficiency Foundation gave me the opportunity to learn more about CVID during different conferences I've attended. It's also helped my family and friends begin to really understand what I go through on a daily basis. The IDF has helped me and my brothers and I would like to give back to them. Our hope is that it allows others in my situation to learn more about their own primary immunodeficiency diseases and to help empathize with those who suffer from CVID like me."
Trekking Kilimanjaro is no easy task! It is not only Africa’s tallest peak, but also the world’s tallest free standing mountain. The summit, named Uhuru Point, is 5,895 meters (19,341 feet) above sea level. With the added incentive of raising money for a worthy cause, I hope we can reach our fundraising goal. I've chosen to climb for Cameron who can't.
The money you donate goes directly into the Immune Deficiency Foundation's account - none of it comes to / through me. Donors will automatically receive a tax-deductible receipt when they make their donation, you can read more about Go Fund Me's terms at https://support.gofundme.com/hc/en-us/articles/203603984-Choosing-a-Campaign-Type
. You can learn more about this amazing organization at https://primaryimmune.org/
For some additional information regarding Cameron's diagnosis, you can reference his day to day life as it corresponds identically with Travis Rierden in this Washington Post article: https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2019/04/09/capitals-prepare-stanley-cup-defense-todd-reirdens-son-faces-ongoing-battle-his-own/?utm_term=.0974f6a2094a
After 7 days of hiking which consisted of over 40 total miles, 9 of which were in the pitch black during our ascent to Uhuru Peak. Ryan, Spencer, Erica, and I have completed our trek of Mt. Kilimanjaro!!
We battled through insomnia, altitude sickness, and below 0 degree temperatures most of the week but summited yesterday morning after sunrise. This wouldn't have been possible without the help of our amazing guides Michael and Seraphin, along with a slew of upbeat porters that worked even harder than we did! The conditioning and mental strength the "Climb Kili" staff had was truly amazing and left our whole group in awe.