Andrew Buerger has long had a love of climbing and the outdoors, so it only came naturally to turn this passion into a mission for good. Andrew’s sister Jodi was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic breast cancer and was told there was no cure. Not willing to accept this fate, Climb for Hope was sparked on a climb to the summit of Pico de Orizaba in Mexico. So began an effort to raise money as quickly as possible to find the next viable treatment for breast cancer.
The inaugural CFH climb took place in Ecuador in January 2007. Andrew’s then girlfriend, Jennifer, was a participant on that expedition, and later that year they would be married. Then, in 2008, Jennifer was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It seemed dire that she would never be able to enjoy her passion for climbing again. Climb for Hope’s mission then grew to support MS research as well.
Even though Jodi lost her battle to breast cancer in 2009, Andrew promised his niece Caroline (Jodi’s daughter), that she would “grow up a world without breast cancer because of the hard work of CFH volunteer climbers.” The name of the charity was then changed to Jodi’s Climb for Hope in her honor. It is Andrew and Jennifer’s hope that Jodi and Jennifer’s battles with their diseases will not be in vain, and all of the money raised in Jodi’s honor will lead to a cure for others with these conditions through funding research at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
On a JCFH climb in Iceland in the summer of 2009, Andrew first came across skyr when their guide provided it during morning and evening meals. Due to skyr’s super-food and healthy properties, Andrew brought this Icelandic style of yogurt back to the U.S. and made it the basis for B’more Organic smoothies. As the company continues to grow, offering healthy on-the-go protein smoothies, 1% of the sales is donated to Jodi’s Climb for Hope.
Climbs for Jodi continue. There was the first JCFH All Women’s trip up Mt. Adams last summer. In that same monumental three-day expedition, a group of 12 volunteers attempted to pull Jennifer up the 12,400’ peak in a modified wheelchair/sled, the first of its kind. Andrew wanted to climb again with his wife, not letting MS stand in her way. After a valiant attempt, the group had to abandon their summit attempt 400’ shy of their goal. Jennifer and the outfitter are already planning their second attempt for 2017! Learn more about Jodi’s Climb for Hope