Mark de Roo
is fundraising to honor:
Roxanne de Roo
Have you ever wondered why bad things happen to good people? That thought isn’t original to me. We all know of people who, in the prime of their lives, are taken from us. Take John Kennedy, for example. Or his brother Bobby. Or, Martin Luther King, Jr. I also know of Caroline, a 9 year old little girl who succumbed to brain cancer while she would much have preferred playing soccer with her third grade friends.
We all know of these situations, mostly from afar. Until it hits home. And that’s what happened to me and my family with the passing of my lovely wife, Roxanne in February of this year due to early onset Alzheimer’s. She was 62.
Okay, I’m biased. Roxanne was truly the most vibrant, hard-working, and creative person on the planet. I don’t think even Martha Stewart could hold a candle to how she fashioned a dinner table. Her colonial flower and herb garden rivaled anything at Mt. Vernon or Monticello. From sunrise to sunset, she was always on the move. And sometimes those “moves” were walking or more recently, running. In fact, she ran the Chicago Marathon less than four years from her passing. Who does that?
Pardon more of my bias, but Roxanne was a beautiful woman. Her eyes captivated me from the moment I met her. They still “did it to me” on the day of her passing.
And one other thing about Rox. 25 years ago, Rox coordinated the Alzheimer’s Memory Walk in our town of Holland, Michigan. Isn’t that the ultimate irony? She wasn’t shy to tackle something that need to be righted, even if it was something that would ultimately take her life. If you know anything about Alzheimer’s, we must call it as it is: a thief. It gradually robs the person. It deceptively steals a loved one from his or her family. And out of no fault of their own. It prompts lots of questioning, including that of God…..why?
But, it also prompts a call for action. It’s time to stop the stealing. It’s time to tackle this disease big-time. As I thought about this, I was informed that the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado sponsors a fund-raising event every June 21 in which people raise funds by climbing a “14er,” a 14,000 foot peak in that glorious state. They have plenty of options. There are 54 of them.
I’ve been fortunate to climb throughout Colorado and much of the U.S. I’ve always wanted, however, to summit one of the “Seven Summits.” These are the highest mountain on each of the seven continents. Well, borrowing from the good folks in Colorado, I decided to combine my love for mountain climbing with an even stronger desire to conquer Alzheimer’s through a fund-raising venture. And all of this to honor my dear wife.
So, on June 13, 2019, I along with three awesome friends (Steve Spoelhof and his son, Ben, and Doug Buma) are leaving for Tanzania and Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest mountain in Africa. I offered the guys a goal: let’s raise a dollar amount that matches the height of the mountain: 19,341’. Everybody was on board. Well, not quite. A day after stating that challenge, Steve Spoelfhof texted me and said, “you raise that amount and I’ll match you.” Wow! But, there’s more. Two days after that, Doug Buma said, “I’m going to do the same!”
All of us would love to have any support as every dollar raised will be directed to research for Alzheimer’s. You can do it conveniently here by clicking the button that says donate. Please join us on our climb by supporting us and all those, including you, who want to end this most horrific of diseases and bring awareness to early onset Alzheimer's. As my wife sought to raise awareness about and to take on this ugly disease, now it’s my turn. I hope you will join her and me with your support. Thank you.
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