If you are reading this blog for a quick, entertaining read please do yourself a favor and click away from this page. If you have grown used to spectacular scenery and photos that so often grace this blog, today isn’t the day for that–go scroll through previous posts–I think there should be plenty there to keep you engaged. If however you have been following Project 365 since it began and have been a part of this venture in one form or another read on!
I wanted to dedicate one blog to thanking some of the people and organizations personally, in no particular order, who have been consistently in the trenches with us in one form or another. This blog is not meant to be comprehensive–it is just my feeble attempt to offer a few thoughts and my thanks to those of you without whom I would have surely failed.
Some of these people contributed time, others ideas. Many contributed financially and many opened their homes and businesses to us. Some of these folks I have known all my life, while others I have never seen in person and might not recognize if we passed on the street. The sheer quantity of people who came to mind when I decided to write a thank-you blog is a testament to the grassroots nature of Project 365. It makes me very happy to see how many people made this effort what it was–I have said many times before that this project has not been mine but it has been a group effort from the very beginning. Read on to see just what I mean…
Before there was LivingVertical:
My Parents: I am not convinced that either of you fully understand my desire to climb–I know you will continue to advocate for my getting a haircut and a “real job” and that you worry about my safety. I appreciate your support and respect for the way I have chosen to pursue my goals. I know that it can be hard to watch from the outside and trust that all of the sacrifice is worth it.
Stefanie: You connected the dots and put the pieces of the puzzle together which gave this project direction. You looked at what was out there and saw what we had to contribute and made me see that I had something to offer. You have understood me and supported my unconventional ways. Few climbers have the privilege of a marriage that does not impinge on their inherent need to take risk or embrace minimalism. Thank you for that sacrifice.
Tony Vuocolo: A few years back a gumby college student with Mad Rock climbing shoes and a lot of misconceptions about climbing walked into The Inner Wall. This student met what looked like a climbing hippie with a massive beard who turned out to be a real person who cared enough to teach me how to climb safely without killing myself and others. You motivated me and invested your time and friendship in me. I would not be a climber today without your influence. Beyond that, when I was looking to start LivingVertical, you took the new skills you had been developing in the world of business to encourage and support (and inform!) my effort.
Nick Percell: I came into this project having a lot of artistic designs and no ability–or very little, relative to what I wanted to accomplish. You have spent a lot of your time and effort shooting photos and video, editing shots, talking and explaining how your do what you do and helping me and Stef build the artistic component of Project 365. Beyond that, we have shared many times on ropes and rock and each of those times have been enriching in many ways. I can safely say that whatever comes out of this project from an aesthetic standpoint is largely a credit to your ability to share what you know about creating imagery and telling stories. Through this process I have gotten to know myself better and found an appreciation for something that will be part of my life from this point forward.
Rick and Lisa Percell: You opened your home to us, took us in, treated us like family, listened, shared, and supported on so many levels. From the first time we came through Vegas in Feb ’12 through the final days of Project 365, you have been helping make this project a reality in ways that we could not have achieved without your full support!
Gareth Turo: You put the crazy idea in my head of starting a 501c3 to combine climbing and diabetes. It seemed too big for me to do, but you made it seem plausible. Also, you were there when I sent my first boulder problem in Harriman…and saved my life when I went into insulin shock and had a seizure in college. Just saying.
Ken Start and Naomi Lee Baumol: You both helped me explore the legal whatnots of business operation and startup–murky waters indeed. You committed to the LivingVertical mission through your tireless support, time, contributions and even through coming out and climbing with us at various times. Your support and willingness to listen to my bitching and ranting kept me sane and made me feel loved and appreciated at some very tough times.
Trevor Kelley: You supported my vision for this project back in 2011 before LivingVertical even existed and were there for me at one of the worst times in my life when no other person understood or was there for me. We traveled across the land, shooting footage for a trailer for a documentary that neither of us knew anything about. Also you introduced me to the GoPro and Always Sunny! Personally and climbing wise you came through in a very special way at a very key time. From that road trip came this project. Thank you for that.
Frank Sanders: Oh Uncle Frank! You were the first person to do a 365 day climbing challenge for a cause. You made me realize that I should share my passion for climbing when we first met on Devils Tower, when I was clogging up the Durrance Route and you showed me how to be more efficient. When I visited you in 2011 at the tower, and I doubted if I was able to start LivingVertical, you and Juliana made me believe in myself and empowered me to navigate the IRS red tape. Without your input I wouldn’t have started guiding back in the day and I may never have even started on the path to doing this project.
Greg Matulionis: After I came down off Devils Tower in 2011 while shooting footage for the Project 365 Trailer, we met and talked about what it was that we were up to and what I was hoping to accomplish. I never thought that you would be there from that day forward, supporting every step of the way, giving when we needed anything and always encouraging the effort of the project. You were the first non-family member to “like” our facebook page. I am so thankful we met and I am grateful for your tireless generosity and support–it is a testament to what can happen when you reach out to others and start a conversation. I can turn into something much bigger than just a momentary interaction.
Zeke Federman: We visited you after Devils Tower and you helped hammer home the idea that LivingVertical was something that I could do–that I wasn’t crazy and you taught me about guiding and how to be safe and to help others around me be safer too. Empowerment through climbing education has been your mission and you gave that gift to me. Also, thank you for hooking us up with ClifBar as a sponsor of this project! That was a massive boost to us when we really needed it!
Lee and Alan Paton: Way before I thought of starting LivingVertical, when I worked as a guide, we went out and had an adventure together in the slot canyons of Zion. I needed to have a good trip that day–and we did, thanks to your willingness to venture into the unknown and explore in the face of deep frigid water, quicksand and precipitous drop-offs. I have been so inspired since then, watching you both continue to push yourselves and develop skills in the natural world that required you to push beyond your comfort zone. When I began LivingVertical and the Project 365 effort, it was no surprise to me that you guys were such strong supporters. You took it seriously and got the word out–not to mention repeatedly contributing your financial support and time to come over from the UK to climb with me.
John Kimmel: Since college we hadn’t been in close contact beyond watching life happen to each other via facebook. When I began moving forward with the fundraising portion of Project 365, I honestly never expected the kind of support that you showed. I was completely blown away. Over the following months it has been a wonderful experience getting to reconnect and I look forward to being able to see you and your wonderful family in the future. You and Ken were there when my career on screen began in “Duane’s World”–the fact that you have stuck around and have been willing to see more of my trajectory in the world of film, is the true testament to your character…
Maria Qadri: From the outset you were there to share your perspective and balanced view of the “diabetes game” with me while encouraging me and helping me to trust myself. If there was some kind of award for most retweets, you would certainly get it. Every time when I felt like no one was watching, listening or caring, I could always count on you being there to make sure I knew that what I was doing mattered!
Fatima Shahzad: Since we climbed together Pre-P365 in Boston, I began to realize that I was one of many who believed in an empowered view of life with diabetes and that there was a real opportunity to reach out to others and show them that they are not alone. I appreciate how you have always stayed in touch and checked up on me to make sure I was hanging in there.
Alyssa Sotomayor: You have been in the trenches fighting on our behalf since day one. I could always count on you sharing blogs, photos and updates with your friends. It has always meant a lot to me that you were never reticent about asking others to support us–as well as supporting us yourself. Thank you for being a constant source of support and encouragement.
Christie Suriel: Thank you for letting us use your home as a base camp for the first part of the project, when that support was most crucial. Also thank you for all of the entertainment that you and Mike provided for me over the time we spent there. Also please pass my best along to Fat Kitty–but Stinky Kitty gets no love from me.
Ana Suriel: You have always helped me see myself and what I have to offer as being valuable, even when I felt less so. You supported our crazy vagabond lifestyle from the beginning, years before anything resembling LivingVertical came along–when it was just two kids who kept chasing an improbable dream. Well, here we are, and look how it developed! Thank you.
Manny and Dalina Suriel: Since we came up with the idea for the project, you have been there in every way you could to make sure we felt supported in this effort, and make sure we had the camera equipment that has given us the ability to create the imagery that has flourished here. I have also been inspired by your initiative to start climbing and exploring new challenges!
Manny Suriel: I want to share how much your support has meant to both of us since the beginning of the project. Financial support, opening your home to Stef and myself and seeing you take big steps to revolutionize your health have been really encouraging to watch from a close perspective. Also, your ability to maintain balance in situations that are very difficult has been a great support to me.
Kizzie Suriel: Thank you for giving your time to help us come up with our logo! What seemed like it should be such a simple process turned out to be a much bigger ordeal that you helped us sort out. Also your willingness to open your home to us at various points along the way is much appreciated.
Arsi Barias: I don’t believe we have yet met in person, but I feel like we have developed a relationship through the course of the project. Your support has been amazing and constant and I can’t thank you enough for that.
David and Suzie Richert: First off, thank you for hosting our fat little bear, Mr Kitty. I know that the love for a pet is something that some people get, and others…don’t. I knew that we made the right choice to leave our most precious charge with you and I can’t tell you how much that means. You guys have been all over Project 365 and I don’t think anyone in our immediate family has been following along as closely as you–which means a lot more than I care to get into here. Thank you for all the support and advice and interesting conversations that have helped to incubate many ideas.
Joe Richert: Thank you for helping support the setup of LivingVertical. Seeing the challenges of managing Sapphario’s diabetes has helped inspire me to demonstrate that there is hope in an improved diet and exercise for him and other kids like him to live a good, long life without fear and limitations.
Beth and Mario Canepa: Thank you for helping us get the Dragon Wagon situated to hold enough cargo to get us off and running–the ability to have all our gear stored in the Turtle Top that you gave us changed the game for us!
Bobby Falcon: Thank you for fixing the exhaust on the Dragon Wagon–it lasted all the way to the last days of that vehicle and helped us get where we needed to go!
Rick Praetzel: You have been very supportive of LivingVertical and very candid about how your views of this project have developed. The support that you have consistently offered us whenever we had any need has been greatly appreciated–as well as your encouragement and perspective on the impact and value of this effort, which was not always visible to us in the moment.
Skip Thompson: From the first time I broached the idea of Project 365 on Supertopo and was inundated with the haters responses…you helped me to see through the ignorance that was out there and use the criticism to improve and clarify my vision. That support has not waned in the following months and I am thankful for that!
Aniez Del Mono: I have never met you in person, but since connecting online (through the Indiegogo campaign, I think?) you have been on top of every post, liking, sharing, encouraging and promoting the Project 365 effort. You have given freely and it has been a privilege becoming friends through this process.
Dominic John: Thank you for helping me learn the little bit that I know about editing video–it seemed like an insurmountable task to put together any sort of video content–and while I know the greatest challenge still lies ahead, you definitely helped put the basic tools in my hands with which to build this work. Thank you for being available to discuss ideas and help me learn!
Cherise Shockley: I have enjoyed participating in your Blue Friday initiative–and I know others who follow my social media channels also enjoy this too! Thank you for coming out to visit me at the WDD event in Indianapolis–it really meant a lot to me having your support!
Mike Durbin: I enjoyed your blog events over the year and I appreciated being invited to do a guest post on your personal blog. Beyond that, it was great meeting you at the summit this summer and I always know that when I go “fishing” on twitter at 3AM, you are right there–and on a number of instances during the project that has made me feel a lot less alone out there on the road!
Todd Gordon: We kept missing each other when we tried to get out climbing together, but you opened your home to us and gave us a shower to use and a place to get in out of the cold at the beginning of the project after we had been suffering in the backcountry in Joshua Tree. Every time we talked you have been right there with support and encouragement, beta on routes and climbing areas. I have always looked up to you as a climber who has seemingly been everywhere and done everything–but you still manage to be psyched for other people and give of your time and experience freely to help other people reach their goals!
Lisa Jennings Baranoski: It has been a long time since the days of high school in Delta Junction, but you really reached out in support of our effort–repeatedly. Getting to reconnect and feel the love from my “roots” in Alaska has meant a lot to me and I have always felt like you guys are on board and rooting for us!
Stephanie Waters: You spent a lot of time and effort making sure I was taken care of and that I was prepared for the PR aspect of Project 365–it was a pleasure getting the opportunity to work with you and see your mastery of a skill set that is very foreign to me. I am quite certain that we would not have been able to accomplish nearly as much without your help. The event in Atlanta was very meaningful to me, getting to meet such great kids and families and while I know only a fraction of the work that goes into that type of event, I know that it is a LOT of work. I appreciate your taking the time to try climbing with me in between interviews while we were in Indianapolis this summer and the way you kept me psyched up through the SMT.
Eamonn Nolan: I know that we only had a minimal amount of personal contact, but through your fastidious attention to detail many of the finished products that I got to enjoy were facilitated! Your behind-the-scenes work did not escape me, and I am really appreciative of the fact that you personally cared about the project and the mission of Project 365.
Sarah Ledesma: Thank you for helping us navigate the world of social media and PR from the infancy of LivingVertical. Your effort and advice helped inform a lot of what we wound up doing and the fact that you have stayed in contact, followed along and availed yourself to help long after your responsibility to do so had expired means a lot. Much of what we see here today came from the beginning of it all, where you helped us believe in ourselves as an organization and find a direction.
Kristin Holler: You and Drew have been entertaining and supporting us in our quest for over a year. Not only did you guys go out of your way to contribute financially whenever you could, you have both been an inspiration in the way that you two love each other and your family. The personal aspect of the project has always been more challenging than the physical part of climbing and you guys have really helped give us hope in that regard.
Terrie Marcoe: You have been supporting and working for the betterment of Project 365 behind the scenes and I am so thankful for all you have done to help us succeed. Aside from the amazing chalkbags into which I dip my hands when I feel uncertain, you helped us develop our logo to make it “pop”, you set up our merchandising and you have always helped us to share what we were up to with your network. You did all of this at a time when we couldn’t do it for ourselves and you labored in obscurity–but know that your effort meant a TON to us and helped us make our goal.
Mike McDonald: When I was attempting to climb El Cap via Lurking Fear, I was in a tough spot–personally and with the project. I felt like I was nearly in over my head and one of my biggest concerns was being able to overnight on the wall and securing the proper gear to do so. I put a post up on SuperTopo and you volunteered a lot of gear that was not cheap–but you were all about helping us get up on the wall and that kindness meant a great deal to me. I hope we have a chance to get back out there again and do some climbing together…perhaps this spring?
Jewels and John Doskicz: I had hoped to do climbing events at local gyms all over the place during Project 365. Once I began traveling and climbing and living out of a rattletrap car, I started to realize how much work was involved with this and how difficult it would be for us to do even a fraction of those events on our own. You and John totally stepped up and did the heavy lifting to set up our first event ever–and you welcomed us into your home and gave freely to help us move the project along. Thank you so much for that–also please pass these regards along to your wonderful family. You guys are a major inspiration!
Hammer: You connected me with CGM technology. Literally and figuratively. Using a CGM has changed my life and you were absolutely instrumental in that. Thank you for that gift and for inspiring me with your positivity!
Bill and Annette Maloney: Thank you for supporting us in our efforts and for taking the time to meet up with us for some climbing. You introduced us to Mr Hammer as well as Insulindependence–two very significant additions to our lives for sure. You also introduced us to seaweed snacks which have since become a dietary staple! Thank you for always being on the lookout for connections and ways that we could maximize the impact of Project 365.
Joan Seff: It was a pleasure meeting you and Jake and Quake at our first event in Flagstaff! Thank you for the insulin you gave me–it stood me in good stead. It made a big difference having a little more insulin to use!
Chris Norris: When Project 365 started, I didn’t know how many other T1D climbers there were out there. Throughout the course of the project I have been inspired watching you push yourself physically and mentally through several injuries and recovery. You stayed positive and focused on what you wanted to accomplish. That tenacity is outstanding! Thank you for sharing that gift with us and for always helping us get the word out when blogs were posted or funding campaigns were going on.
Marcie Romero: Thank you for sharing your Dexcom sensors with me; that generosity is something I will be appreciating for a long while down the road!
Christie Shanafelt: Thank you for being available to support Project 365 by answering medical questions and being willing to stake your reputation on our efforts by endorsing this adventure!
My climbing partners:
Rob: You have been pushing me from the first moment we were in the same space together and you asked Cabot to hide my backpack. I thought to myself, “wow, this guy is a complete _______”. Despite this initial analysis of your character, we managed to become very close and we have grown accustomed to placing our lives in each others hands. This project has relied on your energy at many significant points and I would not be the climber I am without your influence. I am not sure if that’s a compliment or not but it’s the truth!
Jessica Edelman: You were the first person with Type 1 that I ever climbed with outdoors. I appreciate the growth in our friendship and being able to talk about diabetes and keep eachother focused and positive. That day out in the Gunks meant a lot to me–it helped me to really see that what I was doing made a difference and it was so cool seeing a fellow diabadass getting after it and having a great time in the vertical world!
Jannette Wing Pazer: I really enjoyed the time spent with you and Ariel on Madame G’s as well as the time we got to meet up at Gomen Kudosai. You have been one our most ardent supporters from our home community–and all those retweets and shares along the way made a big difference!
Martin Fuhrer: I remember telling you on our way down from Pidgeon Spire that I could feel my life change forever on our outing together. That is something that I can’t fully explain or thank you for. I look forward to many more adventures, changing lives, and gnarly crevasse escapes together! Thank you for your patience and for being cool under pressure. This is just the beginning.
Bryce Taylor: It has been great getting to know you and I have enjoyed having you be part of our climbing adventures. You really added to the energy and the stoke to get out there and send–and that was really important! I look forward to more of that in the future!
Jason Behrstock: It was a little intimidating for me to think that you were going to travel all the way out to Las Vegas to be part of Project 365, but in the long run it made for a great and fulfilling completion of the climbing part of that endeavor. Your level-headed approach to things really impressed me and your energy and focus inspired me a lot. I learned about myself and about what I was out there doing this past year through the time we spent together. Beyond the fact that you caught me on my project your support has been clutch and has helped to raise the bar for the diabetes community.
Michael Kurek: Scrubbin’ buddies for life. Also thank you for joining me on my best day of bouldering yet–I think we really played off eachother that day and got after it!
Cory McKee: Thank you for being on top of things all Project long. We have climbed together in the past when a lot of the formative process was going on and I have always appreciated your easy going and kind way. You have been there for me during the project (and before that) when I felt like no one else could be bothered. You opened your home to me on the times that I was driving cross-country and always made sure that I knew that what I was doing mattered. I hope you come back to Zion.
Dudeman: It was great climbing the Headache with you and Rob back in the summer. I have appreciated the support you have shown LivingVertical online and your opening your home to me over the holidays.
Laura Dahl: Bouldering at Moes and climbing at Cerebus was a great time-but since then you have been there to listen and support and share your ideas and that is something that has really meant a lot to me.
Bill Dunn: You’re a righteous fellow. Thank you for making us feel welcome and occasionally awkwardly uncomfortable. I always enjoy the time we get to spend together.
Steve Vindler: The time we spent together in Yosemite and the east side of the Sierras was some of the most memorable from the project. The bear ordeal, the brakes, that guy from Oregon who assumed we would be calling SAR…I appreciate your patience and being right on with camera work to capture so many of those moments. Your sorting out the brakes on the car when they went was a huge help and without that I would have probably gone completely insane.
Calvin Laatsch: We didn’t get to climb together as much as we had hoped to over the course of the project, but it was meaningful those times when we did rope up together in Zion and City of Rocks. Thank you for not giving me penalty slack when I flailed and for getting into the camera work on Cynthia’s HJ in Zion.
Emily, Toby, Beth and Alex: My friends from the Red! I went into the Red feeling apprehensive of not knowing anyone there and wound up having an amazing time and making great friends, sharing some great climbs and getting my hardest onsight of the project. Despite the hurricane washing us out, this was an incredible time and your support and camera work and partnership really made what could have been a tough go a really enjoyable experience!
Rachael Kuperus: Thank you for supporting Project 365 from the outset and for always being there to help with medical questions and for endorsing it officially. It was good climbing together at the Red too–it meant a lot that you were willing to come out and brave some pretty unpleasant weather in order to be part of the project!
Austin Stiegemeier: The mural that you drew on the now deceased Dragon Wagon was one of my favorite things that happened throughout the project. It was so cool and it really made the time spent at City of Rocks seem much more productive. Thank you for sharing your time and incredible talent with us!
Insulindependence: Your organization has gone above and beyond to show us hospitality and involve us with the AMAZING work that you have been doing for years. I am in admiration of what you have accomplished from an organizational standpoint and being able to make friends with SO many amazing people through your events has been empowering and encouraging. Blair, Peter, Brennan, Amrie, Desirae, Lawren–we love you guys, thanks for being so awesome!
Goal Zero: When we went to the OR Trade show, 6 days into Project 365 I felt as though I was going to be laughed at by everyone. I felt completely hopeless–but I knew that I wanted to meet up with the Goal Zero team because we had chatted back and forth on Twitter. I located your booth and even though I was on the brink of despair, I went for it and we started a conversation about climbing, Project 365 and type 1 diabetes. James, as my main contact person from Goal Zero, I have always felt supported, not only from a business perspective but personally supported. I knew that what I was doing mattered to you–and that meant SO much to us. I am proud to know you and to be a Goal Zero ambassador.
ClifBar: People ask me if, after 365 days of climbing I am tired of eating Builder Bars. I am always happy to say that I am not tired of them! However, the fact that you make some tasty treats which help me keep my blood sugar balanced while exercising is only part of the thanks I have for the support of your company. When we had special events or when the bear broke into our car, you were right there, making sure we had all the bars we needed to eat!
PCGI: I learned a great deal of my technical skills from my mentors from PCGI. Frank Sanders, Zeke Federman, Jonathan Zambella, Seth Zaharias, Paul Curran, Joey Vulpis and Zach Schneider: You are the representatives of PCGI that I have had the privilege of learning from over the years and I think the fact that I have never really seen PCGI as so much an organization or a company but rather a group of amazing people who go to great lengths to help empower other people who want to learn how to play safely in the vertical world speaks volumes to the care and love that you all put into your work and your students. I am proud to be one of them, and I thank you all for supporting Project 365!
FiveTen: Thank you for supporting Project 365 through contributing our climbing footwear! When climbing, one can afford to skimp on many areas of gear purchases without it directly impacting your performance in the rock–but climbing shoes are not an area where that applies! As a diabetic, I am very conscious of how my feet are taken care of and I appreciate a quality shoe that is also comfortable, lasts a long time and helps me send when I need precision. Thank you for helping us send!
Darn Tough: Your company name says it all! Since I started wearing DT socks (before Project 365) I have been accosting anyone who will listen with tales of life-changing socks. This has not been an exaggeration and having the support of your company through this past year has been massive. I have trusted DT socks in cold, heat, ice, snow, sand and water. Thank you!
Accu Chek: Thank you for contributing the funding to Project 365 that put us over the top at the 11th hour to help us complete the year! Beyond that, thank you for all of the friendships and relationships I have gained from the time I spent visiting your facilities in Indianapolis. Gary VanDeLaarschot, David Gayes, Rob Muller–from the first time I met you all, I felt like I was amongst friends. Knowing how much you all care about the community you serve and the effort that goes into reaching more people with life-saving products meant a lot to me. I personally felt very supported on a personal level by you throughout the project and even in the days since it has ended. I know there are many more people who I met at World Diabetes Day and I apologize for not remembering everyones name, but the time I spent with you all really meant a great deal to me and made me proud to be supported by your company.
If you made it this far down this entry, you’re a true supporter!