My father, Philip L. Holstein, was my hero. My adventure buddy. We did everything together, even in my adult years. Camping, skiing, hiking, father-daughter dates, trips to the Olympics, regular walks to talk about life. We did it all. He was at every sports game, every concert, every graduation, every parent-teacher conference. He was there during breakups and at those tough times growing up. He built every piece of furniture in my apartment, edited all of my essays, taught me how to manage my finances and plan for the future. He showed me how to be an exemplary citizen. A mentor and confidant and leader. He was the most selfless, non-judgmental person I know. He had a thirst for life and appreciation for nature and the world around him that was contagious. Even in the darkest of days, my dad always awoke positive, with hope and a fighter's spirit, grateful for life. Grateful to see the sun rise, hear the loons on our lake, smile at my mom. The little things. He taught me what love is all about.
During my dad's 19-month battle, I decided that I needed to do something big in our fight against pancreatic cancer. For a while I'd been trying to figure out how to take my pain and frustration and put it into action. I knew what I had to do and wanted to do. I announced to my dad that I would be hiking all 46 Adirondack High Peaks (which he loved and completed by age 13) to raise money for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. When I told him the plan, he was so excited and said he wanted to join me on the hikes. I'll never forget that. Just moments before my dad's last breath on September 22, 2016, I reminded him of my mission.
To date, I have hiked 10 peaks and surpassed my initial $46,000 fundraising goal. My goal has now been doubled to $92,000 as I continue to summit the 46 and raise vital funds for pancreatic cancer research and patient services. I welcome you to contact me by email (email@example.com) if you would like to join me for a hike or go on a hike of your own in memory of my dad. I also urge you to contribute. Pancreatic cancer is an extremely underfunded and deadly disease (with just an 11% five-year survival rate), and your support would be so greatly appreciated. Thank you!