I would not call myself a hiker, but when the opportunity to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with a group of fellow kidney donors came my way, it was not difficult to say YES to this incredible adventure, and do what I could to become a hiker.  So here I am, fundraising, doing weekend hikes and weekday treks around town in my hiking boots, and learning about gear that I had never really thought about before.

Rebekah Thomas One Kidney Climb

I was not a runner, but when the opportunity to train for the Vermont City Marathon came my way, through Team in Training, it seemed like a great way to check ‘run a marathon’ off the bucket list.  That was in 2001, and I have thoroughly enjoyed my connection to Run Vermont since that first marathon.  From running the marathon each Memorial Day weekend, to volunteering at the expo, coaching my students through their Mini Milers program, serving as part of the Marathon Command crew, and pacing the 4:45 group for the last several years, Run Vermont has become a big part of what I consider my running family.  When I told Executive Director Peter Delaney about KDA’s plans to hike Kilimanjaro, he was ready to help us get there. He offered to support our team of climbers by dedicating the first of Run Vermont’s Get Out, Give Back 5k series to our One Kidney Kilimanjaro Climb!  I was blown away by this generous offer from an organization that has already given so much to our youth and running community.  I was interviewed by Kate Vetter, Director of Communications, who wrote up this blog, which highlights the importance of service to each other and to the greater community.  I would like to thank the Run Vermont staff: Peter, Joe, Michelle, Chuck, and Kate, for this incredible gesture of support in getting all of us to the summit of Kilimanjaro on World Kidney Day, March 10, 2022! 

And now race week is here!  Race day is January 23.  You can run or walk this 5k.  There is a 2 hour window to start if you are able to attend in person, and there will be hot coffee and cocoa at the finish.  I would love to “see” you virtually on the race roster, or in person if you’re up for a trip to Vermont!  

Last week Run Vermont sent this out as part of an email: If we reach 100 runners by race day (in-person + virtual), a generous anonymous donor will match with an additional $500 to Kidney Donor Athletes…and YOU get a chance to win a FREE pair of running shoes from HOKA!

You can register and learn more about Run Vermont here. Thanks for reading, and please don’t hesitate to share with your friends! Click here to read more about my story. My bio for the One Kidney Climb – Kilimanjaro can be found here.

To learn more about being a living kidney donor, visit Kidney Donor Registry for more information.