Arts and Entertainment

VIM AND VIGOR | In the name of the father

Local Mountaineer Chris Henrickson tackled Mount St. Helens last year as this year’s challenge, Mount Adams, looms in the background.  - Courtesy Photo
Local Mountaineer Chris Henrickson tackled Mount St. Helens last year as this year’s challenge, Mount Adams, looms in the background.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

Local climber Chris Henrickson sets out to conquer Mount Adams to raise money for the Harrison Medical Center Foundation.

While perched atop the apex of Mount St. Helens last year, Chris Henrickson had an epiphany — one in which two realizations became one.

First, he was sure he wanted to take on another major mountain at some point in his life. And, if he was already going to do that, he may as well use the experience to raise money for a cause in which he deeply believed.

The cause was an easy one to find.

After watching his father succumb to cancer on Aug. 16, 2001, it was a natural that he’d raise money for the Harrison Medical Center Foundation to benefit cancer services and education. The foundation is the money-raising and philanthropic arm of the medical center.

To find the summit to conquer, he merely had to turn around.

On Aug. 28 and 29, he and a friend will gather their hiking gear and head for the peak of Mount Adams, which is visible from Mount St. Helens.

The challenge is one he will not walk away from, but he knows there will be repercussions.

“I’ll be hobbling in to work the next day,” he said.

Henrickson is the president of Lewis Funeral Chapel & Forest Lawn Cemetery, a business into which he followed in his father’s footsteps.

He’s spent the last year gaining motivation and pledges, planning the course of action and training for the event. As of press time, he’s earned nearly $3,000 in pledges, according to the fundraising thermometer on www.lewischapel.com.

Training for the event began in earnest in May, he said. That’s when, once a week, he’d pack 50 pounds of clothing and hiking supplies into a backpack and hit the trail at Green Mountain.

He and his hiking buddy plan on taking the trail most traveled — the south spur — to the top of the 12,281-foot summit of Mount Adams. They’ll hit the lunch, he’ll unfurl a banner and his hiking buddy will snap a picture as proof he’s completed the hike, he said.

A video camera also is likely to make the trek.

Though in this digital day and age, many of his sponsors and supporters would thrive on continuous updates through Facebook or Twitter, there shall be none. Cell phone reception is likely difficult to come by atop Mount Adams.

“They’ll have to take my word for it,” he said of his sponsors. “I’m pretty honest guy.”

He’s made no bones about being thoroughly committed to finishing the climb.

“There’s a lot of people invested in this, “ he said.

Stephanie Cline, executive director of the Harrison Foundation, said, “It’s really important that the community comes forward and supports the foundation.”

Patient fees, she said, cover a good portion of the service, but don’t stretch to cover everything.

“They don’t cover all the things necessary that help to provide exceptional care,” she said.

To make a donation or find out more about Harrison’s cancer services, go to www.harrisonfoundation.org. Donations also are accepted at www.lewischapel.com.

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