GCOne week from today I will be standing at the rim of the Grand Canyon with 14 of my friends, old and new. We will take that first step into the Canyon together, becoming part of each other's histories. The Climb day seemed like it was so far off for so long, but now all of the sudden it is here.

As I sit here, thinking about what to write for my first ever Guest Blog, I am overwhelmed with many feelings: excitement that the trip is almost here, fear that the hike is a week away but most of all, I am full of gratitude. And I think maybe the best use for this blog is to share my gratitude with you all.

So, here goes, I am grateful to:
Dianne Mackenzie: Epilepsy Durham Region's Super Woman and the driving force behind this adventure. Dianne, you have never ceased to amaze me from the moment that we met, you have shown me what a true advocate is. The clients of EDR have faces and names and stories, that touch the hearts of anyone who hears them. I find that is so very rare today, thank you for sharing their stories with us and making it so easy to want to help.

Michael Finigan: Chief Jerk at Pursuit Training. Mike, you believed in me when I did not believe in myself. After the failed Tough Mudder training I was not sure if I was up to the Epic Climb, but you knew I was. Thank you for patiently busting my ass and making me want to push myself harder. As I look back, the athletic psychology was not lost on me and the delivery was near brilliant. You have said on many occasions, that we all have our breakdown. I'll have you know my tears as I write this are out of gratitude. Good news for the fella that picked the short straw and got me on their 'list', I'm good now, the hike will truly be 'Epic'.

Ray Richardson: Hike Navigator and Lead Donkey. Ray, the laughs we had on those training hikes were genuine and also great for covering the cursing. I am not good at cursing under my breath, so loud belly laughter surrounding me is always good, especially when ladies and children are present. Thank you for getting us lost, finding that extra hill and goading me on with the never-ending barrage of call outs. Without all of that, the kilometres would have been so much more tedious. I can hardly wait to see what you come up with for the comedy routine on the Climb.

IMG 4515My fellow hikers: Lisa Brown, Catherine Smith, Megan Ney, Dianne Mackenzie, Tracey Strong, Chelsea kerstens, Peter Gorham and those I have yet to meet from Newfoundland. This hike is likely to be life changing and I am glad you are on the journey with me. Amefyst, I am proud to have you by my side as my derby sister and friend, this is so much more than just a hike to the both of us, much love girl. Cathy and Megan, your mother daughter adventure is amazing, the road has been challenging and I look forward to watching you climb back up the Canyon hands held high in victory!! Chelsea and Tracy, you are both so strong, showing the world that nothing can hold you back from a goal. You are both EDR heroes and awe inspiring for the rest of us.

My Friends & Family: Thank you for all the support, the sponsorships, the pieing and for enduring my endless excitement about this adventure. Thank you for wearing purple shoelaces and t-shirts, for attending celebrity bar nights and fire truck pulls and supporting the Epic Climb in whatever way you could. I couldn't ask for a better group of people to be surrounded by.

My Heroes: Maegan Virtanen, Craig Moffitt, Chelsea Kerstens, Tracey Strong, Cameron, Fayth and all the others who rely on Epilepsy Durham Region. You live with Epilepsy everyday, but do not allow it to control the way you live your life. I am grateful to have met you and proud to be able to support you in even a small way. We will continue to fight for awareness, research dollars, new treatments and whatever else you need. Epilepsy MATTERS.

Kathy Beattie

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