Ken Kisch of Sammamish, Washington is an avid hiker. And if you ask anyone who knows him, Ken has also "lived large with Parkinson's" ever since his diagnosis four years ago. Ken joined Team Fox in early 2016 with a clear idea: host a hiking event in the Pacific Northwest, recruit people with Parkinson's disease (PD) to take part and raise money to speed a cure. Through the help of fellow hiker and person with Parkinson' s, Bill Meyer, the Pass to Pass event was born.
On August 20, 2016, the Pass to Pass team — comprised of seven people with Parkinson's, a support crew, a trail guide and a few sturdy mules — set off on their adventure. Over nine days, the 12-person team hiked 74.7 miles of the beautifully scenic Pacific Crest Trail from Steven's Pass to Snoqualmie Pass.
As with any endurance journey, there are bound to be a few obstacles along the way. Just before the beginning of the hike, Bill was forced to withdraw. And mid-hike two additional team members were unable to complete the trek. But rather than deter them from finishing, this served to further motivate the team to complete the hike in honor of their teammates.
To date, Pass to Pass has raised $8,400 to help put an end to Parkinson’s disease. And like all Team Fox fundraisers, 100 percent of this will go directly to the most promising programs for a cure.
We asked a few of the hikers, including trailblazer Ken Kisch, to reflect on their nine-day adventure:
"I was fortunate to be in fine shape throughout the trip. In fact, I felt stronger as the days went by which may have been in part due to the confidence that nothing was going to hold me back from finishing. But of course, after the trip I needed one to two days to recover and catch up on sleep!"
–Ken Kisch, Pass to Pass Hiker Living with Parkinson's
"Hiking with people with PD on the Pacific Crest Trail is an experience I will always remember. Our team climbed, swam in lakes and worked well together. We handled adversity, and we’re stronger for it. Our primary goal was to push ourselves physically to help maintain and improve our strength to fight PD. And it was realized."
–Patty, Pass to Pass Hiker Living with Parkinson's
"While I’ve had Parkinson's for many years, I spent most of those years in denial, trying to live a normal life and not discuss my issues. I didn't want Parkinson's to define me. As soon as I got accepted to hike with this group, I realized it was time to step it up and start raising money for research. I also realized it wasn't just about me and my symptoms. This is about raising awareness and getting together with like-minded people to work toward living well with the disease."
–Cathy, Pass to Pass Hiker Living with Parkinson's
Team Pass to Pass is planning to hit the trails again in 2017! Sign up via their website to learn more about joining the team. And if you’re inspired to create your own adventure to help cure Parkinson’s, join Team Fox to speed research toward a cure.
Photo courtesy of Ken Kisch. Check out more Pass to Pass photos here.