After moving to Colorado in 2006, Christine Gilmore quickly took to hiking and snowshoeing. Her passion for the outdoors continued for more than a decade with her starting to climb bigger peaks in Colorado in 2015. A short four years later, Gilmore received news that changed her life forever.
After meeting with a neurologist to find out why she was tripping and falling on a regular basis, Gilmore was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis – more commonly called ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease. She was told to get her affairs in order, met with emotions of grief and denial.
As motor neurons start to die as a result of the disease, muscles used for basic tasks like breathing, walking, and swallowing start to wither. Unfortunately, there is no cure and it can leave patients in a state of paralysis.
In spite of challenges brought on by the disease, Gilmore has continued to seek joy in the outdoors. This passion led Gilmore to the highest point in Colorado on September 12, with the help of the Lockwood Foundation.
Called an 'ALS warrior' in a press release from the organization, Gilmore made it to the 14,433-foot summit of Mount Elbert in an adaptive wheelchair, walking the last few steps to the summit with the aid of her husband and other volunteers.
She was inspired to summit the peak by past words that a hospice patient had shared with Gilmore during her time as a registered nurse – don't wait for "someday" and live life to the fullest.
Images from the scene show more than twenty volunteers, friends, and family members with her on the trail. The volunteers took turns pushing her closer and closer to the top.
To summit the peak, the group used the East Ridge route from the 4x4 trailhead, which means roughly 10.5 miles and 4,100 feet of gain roundtrip. The journey took three days, with the team making the final push to the summit on September 12.
This epic trek was made possible by the Lockwood Foundation, which is a non-profit that was founded in 2018 with the goal of making adventure more accessible. With more than 300 volunteers, they've served more than 45 people with mobility issues by utilizing adaptive equipment. More information can be found about the organization here.
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