HELP HIKE4HOPE ON THE AT!
After a mere two years of marriage, most couples are gradually easing themselves into the more leisurely and subdued aspects of connubial life, their thoughts turning to the mundane concerns of household finances, children, and the merits of an egg-shell door finish as opposed to the maritime blue. Not so Maddie and Trey Cason.
Pro Tip: Giving is Always Better than Receiving
Help Maddie and Trey's chosen cause by donating below:
It’s not often that the hugely popular, well-trafficked Appalachian Trail can be considered a “road less traveled,” but for this duo of big-hearted, steely-calved humanitarians it is nothing less. In June this year, Maddie and Trey took their first steps on a journey that would see them cover 2,190 miles of trail, and in doing so marked the beginning of a transition from life in the corporate world to that of long-term humanitarian aid workers for the Global Hope Network International.
Faced with the knowledge of others’ suffering around the globe or beset with those oft-cited feelings of the emptiness and meaningless drudgery that employment in the corporate sphere can easily evoke, many others have felt what inspired Maddie and Trey to embark on their new quest. However, unlike so many of those others, Maddie and Trey’s purpose in undergoing this wholesale “reboot” of their lives isn’t some downing of tools and retreat into off-grid living or wandering of the wilds while fatalistically lamenting the “state of the nation.” Their aim, rather, is far more noble and proactive. And it’s a bold one, far bolder than any trifling traverse of 2000+ miles in which the obstacles to success include foul weather, bears, around 500,000 feet of ascent(!), unremitting fatigue, a distinct absence of creature comforts, and the more-than-irksome burden of a 50-pound pack on their backs each step of the way. No, Maddie and Trey’s hope in taking on the Appalachian Trail is this: that the funds raised from their trek will transform lives, elevating four severely impoverished communities in Asia to the point of flourishing by providing assistance in five key areas: education, income generation, food, water, and wellness.
“Everyone in the world and every community in the world has the potential for greatness,” says Trey, and together this team of two have set about to assist in dismantling the significant “roadblocks” that stand between these communities and that greatness, starting with these five bare essentials of human welfare that so many of us in developed countries are apt to take for granted. Without them, the Casons know, there’s a high chance that the future recipients of their help would forever remain on the ill-favored side of the developed-undeveloped and impoverished-prospering divide.
At the time of writing, Maddie and Trey are making their way through Tennessee, nearing the two-thousand-mile marker and now some four months from their last sighting of “home”. They’ve passed through thirteen states, stomped literally millions of steps in blazing heat and nigh-on biblical rains, and been bitten by enough bugs to have all but forgotten what itch-free skin feels like. But the end is in sight. Their journey, no doubt, has been transformational. Life-changing. And for all of us waiting and watching in the wings, it has also been inspirational. But this is just the beginning. A short time after the completion of the trail, their efforts will transfer to four remote communities in Asia where another journey will begin - one from extreme poverty to prosperity, from disease-carrying drinking water to clean drinking water, from desperation to hope, from powerlessness to greatness.
We wish them luck for the remainder of their trip and the far greater challenges to follow and remind readers that it’s not too late to contribute to the effort by donating to Maddie and Trey’s cause or joining up with the Hike4Hope yourself.
Maddie and Trey, we salute you!
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Kieran James Cunningham is a climber, mountaineer and writer based in the Italian Alps. He’s climbed a handful of 6000ers in the Himalayas, 4000ers in the Alps and loves nothing more than a good long-distance wander in the wilderness. He climbs when he should be writing, writes when he should be sleeping, has fun always.