Update: Watch our climbers take on Mount Kinabalu in our new video!

We’ve said many times since the inception of Max Global Experience – Mt. Kinabalu that the climb itself is a metaphor for living with cancer, but it all took on a new level of meaning as we set out on July 22nd to finally start the climb we’d been training and planning for.

This climb was not only a physical challenge, but mental and emotional as well. Each of us had to dig deep within ourselves to summon the strength, courage, and determination to keep going, putting one foot in front of the other, until we reached base camp and then set out in the dark early hours of July 23rd for the summit.

Each of us had our individual experience with the climb, and at times we climbed silently, working hard for each step and each breath as the altitude increased. But we were not alone – we shared a strong connection and solidarity among our team of 23 that in just a few short days grew close through our shared experience, supporting one another at every turn and celebrating each climber’s milestones along the way.

We also had guides, whose calm and reassuring presence helped us through each twist and turn of the summit trail. Finally, we had our friends and family at home cheering us on individually and collectively, many of whom were donors supporting our fundraising campaigns. For me personally, each climber on our team, every patient I was fortunate to meet and speak with in Malaysia, and each of my supporters back home motivated and inspired me to put everything into my climb!

Reflecting on our climb just a couple of short weeks ago, I still find myself amazed by our team’s hard work, dedication, and heart that they put into every step of this journey. It wouldn’t feel right to talk about only my experience, which would not have been the same without our team. Below are just a sampling of impressions from our other climbers, but you can read more from other team members in Max Family Malaysia’s “The Climb Series” blog and see the full album of photos from the climb on Facebook!

“I remembered the moment, the same exact moment of wanting to quit in the midst of your body falling apart. But again, I didn’t know where it came from, there was an unleashed momentum and burning passion kept pushing and telling me that I got to finish whatever I had agreed to start.” —Dr. Abd Razak Muhamad, CML survivor

“Walking in the dark is just like having CML and not knowing your treatment will be successful or otherwise. It’s just the belief in us and our spiritual and mental strength that say, yeah I can do it, I can reach the summit and I can overcome all the fear and stigma of CML.” —Abu Hurairah, CML survivor

“We were connected through a deeply bonding experience because our lives depended on it. Very much like our cancer survivor friends around the world who come together to support each other as they each climb the mountains ahead of them.” —Erin Schwartz, VP of Strategic Partnerships and Communications