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home » Hike For Discovery » HFD 2007 » Breaking New Ground Breakfast and Hike

Meet the 2007 HFD Team

Aileen Goss
Andrea Hoffman
Brianna McMullen
Cindy Kiamko
Cindy Vogelberger
Clint Reach
Deb Donofrio
Ellen Brooks
Erin Noseworthy
 Greg Palmer
Heather Mitchell
Heidi Sowers
 Jessica Koman
Joel Shalowitz
 Kate Brotman
 Kate Greenberg
Kendra Plemmons
Kevin Pearson ‡
Kim Guercio
Kyle Bray *
Lisa Fronc *
Lauren Allen †
Olivia Darden
Patti Harden **
Paula Finkelstein
Terrill Esposito
Tracy Kight
Rosamaria Somarriba
Samuel Somarriba
** Hike Leader
* Mentor
† LLS Staff
‡ Honorary Team Member

Hike Hero - Gary

A Hike Hero in the Hike For Discovery program is a person that is currently fighting a blood cancer. The members of each group hike in honor of this individual.

The Hike Hero for the Maryland Chapter is Gary Todd. He first discovered he had enlarged lymph nodes during a visit to the hospital after having chest pains during a hike in late November 2003. In June 2005 he began feeling tired and experiencing night sweats. At first he thought he was worrying unnecessarily because of his impending retirement the next year. However, after a number of tests it was diagnosed with Stage 4, Non-Hodgkin’s spleenic lymphoma.

Gary underwent a chemotherapy treatment in six cycles over eighteen weeks and on January 1, 2006 went into remission. Unfortunately in late March of 2006 he began to feel sick again and in mid-May he began treatment with Rituxin*. He has been diagnosed with chronic lymphoma and will be taking Rituxin every ninety days for at least the next two years.

* Rituxin is an advanced and less invasive medicine that was made possible by money donated for research. It attacks only the cancerous cells and leaves healthy cells intact.

Breaking New Ground Breakfast and Hike
Carrie Murray Nature Center - Baltimore, MD
Breaking New Ground Breakfast

Saturday January 27th, 2007 was the first time the hiking team all got together as a group. We met at the Carrie Murray Nature Center in Baltimore, MD for breakfast and an informative meeting followed by a short hike. I live just a few miles from the nature center and never knew it existed so before the official journey even started it was already teaching me new things.

The event started off with coffee, fruit, and pastries and time to mingle and get to know the other hikers. After we finished eating we sat down for the informational portion of the day. Lauren, our staff contact, talked about the history of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and introduced us to Gary Todd, the Hero Hiker for our group, and Patti the hike leader.

This was when I really started to understand the importance of what I was dedicating myself to. In the 1940s before the Society was formed the survival rate for someone who was diagnosed with a blood cancer was zero %. It was a death sentence; all anyone could do for you was to try their best to make you comfortable. Thankfully, with the generous donations the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society receives; they have been able to support research which has lead to an 83% survival rate for children and a 50% survival rate for adults with blood cancers.

Hike Leader Patti
Hike Leader Patti

It was then Patti’s turn to speak. She has been active in outdoor activities many years and is well qualified to be our hike leader. She explained the gear needed for the novice hikers in the group and had some very inspirational words to say about the final destination in our journey, the Grand Canyon.

With our spirits high we set out for a short hike around the nature center. Here we were, inside the Baltimore beltway, within city limits, and it felt like we were in a remote state park. The trails quickly lead into a wooded valley away from the noises of the nearby highways and city. The hike only took about 15 or 20 minutes but it gave us all even more of a chance to get to know each other and build a team feeling.

While hiking I had the opportunity to talk with Gary. He is a very inspirational person. I can only imagine what it must be like to be diagnosed with Lymphoma just one year before retiring. We work our whole lives expecting to be rewarded at the end with some time to relax and travel, we never expect to spend that time instead fighting for our lives. Thankfully Gary has had success with his treatment and is still able to be active doing the things he loves in the outdoors. He had nothing but kind words to say about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the support they have given him.

Hiking at the Carrie Murray Nature Center
Hiking at the Carrie Murray Nature Center

  About the Carrie Murray Nature Center

1901 Ridegtop Road
Baltimore, MD 21207
(410) 396-0808

Explore nature and learn about the thousands of animals and insects native to the Baltimore area. This spectacular facility offers young people the opportunity to explore the great outdoors in a fun and educational environment.

The Carrie Murray Nature Center was established in the late 1980's through a generous donation from former Orioles player and Baseball Hall of Famer, Eddie Murray. The center is named in honor of his mother.

For more information visit the
Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks

A moss covered log along the trail
A moss covered log along the trail

Trail at the Carrie Murray Nature Center
One of the Trails at the Carrie Murray Nature Center

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