Jeff Salantai

The Hemophiliac Who Got High

Not that kind of high, but really high, like Mt. Ranier high. Jeff Salantai, who has hemophilia, and Eric Hill, president and founder of BioRx, a home care company, undertook the grueling challenge of climbing Mt. Rainier, in order to raise funds for two nonprofits—one of them mine!

Mt. Rainier is the tallest glaciated mountain in the lower 49 states–only Alaska has one higher. It is located just outside of Ashford, Washington. Jeff is an account manager for BioRx and lives in Austin, Texas. Eric writes, “After more than 7 months of training and preparation, we attempted to summit the mountain the second week of August. We received tons of thoughts and prayers from many of you and we just wanted to say thank you to everyone who called or wrote wishing us luck. We summited the mountain at 7:20 am on Saturday, August 15, at 14,410 feet….so wiped out we could barely function (only to realize we had about 7 more hours of continuous trekking to get back down) but we did it.”

Most amazingly, is that Eric has pledged to match funds with anyone who wants to donate for their climb, for Save One Life, my nonprofit that sponsors over 500 children with hemophilia in developing countries.

Jeff Salantai

Both men agreed that this is was the hardest thing they’ve ever done. Eric writes, “I’ve run a marathon, done 4 more 23 mile runs, completed 5 Olympic length triathlons, climbed 2 other 14,000 ft mountains (no glaciers) and raced in 100k road bike races. Jeff likewise has done some pretty spectacular physical challenges like climbing the second and third largest mountains in the US, rock climbed some amazing cliffs, and has competed in 100 mile bike races on a routine basis. We both agreed that they all paled in comparison to the effort and mental trial of this experience.”

Incredibly, they are “99% sure” that Jeff is the first person living with hemophilia to summit Mt. Rainier. Jeff may now hold the record for the highest summit in the world by someone with hemophilia.

Their donations are so needed. I am visiting countries that no one in the hemophilia community has visited before and we are hoping to do outreach to find the people with hemophilia, who are as yet unidentified and suffering in silence. Please help, and show your support for the tremendous and risky fundraiser that Eric and Jeff undertook. I have never heard of any fundraiser quite like theirs!

Jeff and Eric write, “Thanks to everyone for everything you’ve done and the support you’ve provided to both of us.”

Congratulations to Jeff and Eric, two courageous and determined men with hearts of gold.

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