Climbing New Heights For IBD Cures

For Marc Gillman, what started as a dare turned into a life-changing opportunity to help the growing number of Americans with inflammatory bowel diseases.

On August 24, he along with his brother-in-law and Crohn’s patient Brian Berg will take the 17 plus-hour flight from Newark, NJ to Nairobi, Africa to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the world’s highest free-standing mountain in the world, for IBD cures.

“I figured it would be one of those bucket list items that you should always try in your life. I figured I had done a marathon for CCFA and I figured I’d do this and turn it into a charity event,” says Gillman, who serves on the board of the Florida chapter.

As if training for the 19,000 foot-climb wasn’t demanding enough, he is also handling the planning for the event. Yet Gillman insists he has the best motivator: his 21-year-old son Brandon, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s at the age of 10.

“He thinks I’m a little bit crazy for doing this but he wishes he could come but he will be in school,” he says of his son, who is currently attending Washington University. “He has been living with Crohn’s for many, many years. He has been very ill, but has been in recovery for awhile now and the healthiest he has been in a long time.”

So how does one prepare to climb for the tallest mountain in the world?

Marc and Brian have spent the past four months getting their bodies ready for the grueling trek with different variations of cardio, including long treadmill runs and climbing 30 flights of stairs four to six times a week.“From a physical standpoint, I feel good,” says Gillman.  “The only thing I am concerned about is how my body will adjust to the altitude. It could be shortness of breath, faintness, dizziness, but we are going there to reach the top and hopefully we will make it.”

Marc acknowledges the uniqueness of his fundraiser but he believes anyone can do the same in an effort to help the cause.

“Try to think of something that you can go out in the community and get people actively involved. I think when people see you doing something different, they want to support.”

You can support Marc Gillman and his family as they work toward ending IBD when you visit: