Christopher Morson often heads for Africa and a wildlife safari when he seeks adventure. But when he flies to Africa this fall, his adventure lust will be mixed with a serious mission. Morson plans to climb 19,400-foot Mount Kilimanjaro in a bid to raise funds for prostate cancer research and education.
Morson is an investment counselor who divides his time between homes in South Routt County and Miami, Fla. He has never climbed higher than the summit of a single 14,000-foot peak in Colorado but is determined to climb Africa's highest peak in mid-September. His goal is to raise $10,000 for the Hap Weyman Memorial Prostate Cancer Fund.
"I'm going to make it to the top unless it kills me," Morson said. "I have a love affair with Africa. I can always go on a safari. You don't have to ask me twice. Whisper it and I'll go."
Morson emphasized that no more than 10 percent of the money raised by the Weyman Fund is spent on administrative budgets. The remaining 90 percent goes to education and research. The fund is based in Los Angeles and is affiliated with the public charity Prostate Cancer Research Institute.
Morson is senior vice-president for investments and the "I do: Money Manager" for clients at Janney Montgomery Scott LLC. After his father endured a prostatectomy, he became personally involved in cancer awareness.
"I started to get really interested in this thing," Morson said.
Some men experience feelings of shame traced to physical changes that can be associated with treatment of the disease, he said. For many men, those feelings make them reluctant to discuss the disease, or to have checkups that can detect prostate cancer.
Literature prepared by the Prostate Cancer Research Institute points out that although the disease is among the most curable of cancers, 190,000 men are diagnosed each year, and it has become the second leading cause of cancer death among men.
The Weyman Fund was started by Terry Weyman, a Los Angeles chiropractor who lost his father to prostate cancer. He resolved to raise awareness of the disease and money for research by organizing a team to climb Mount Aconcagua in Argentina. A group of 15 climbers, five of them cancer patients, ascended the highest mountain in the Western Hemisphere (22,840 feet) in 2001.
The trek to Kilimanjaro is the second peak to climb in what could become a series. Morson was brought into the group of climbers through fellow Rotarians in Florida. He is active in the Steamboat Rotary chapter and is due to become president of a chapter in North Dade, Fla.
Morson said he has much to accomplish before he is able to tackle the steamy jungles and high-altitude ice caps involved in any climb of Kilimanjaro. He is training with frequent climbs up Thorpe Mountain near his home in Routt County.
People interested in making a contribution to support his fund-raising climb may visit www.prostatecancerclimb.org or call Alice Klauzer at Alpine Bank, 871-1901. Donors may also send a check to the Hap Weyman Memorial Prostate Cancer Fund in care of the Prostate Cancer Research Institute, 5777 W. Century Boulevard, Ste. 885, Los Angeles, CA 90045.
-- To reach Tom Ross call 871-4205
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