Tim Conners of Fulton is a blind adventurer who set out to — and did — summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak. He set out in late May, after graduating from Ithaca College, and reached the summit in early June. (He chronicled his trek on his Web site, mountimpossible.com, and on his Facebook page.)
Conners was a freshman in high school when he was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He lost his vision when the cancer spread to his optic nerve. Chemotherapy helped shrink a tumor in his chest that was the size of a football. He also required a bone marrow transplant and dialysis for kidney failure. He was hospitalized for more than 100 days, much of that time at Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, which, he says, “is the reason I am still alive today.”
He was grateful to receive care so close to home. “Not having to travel far to receive my treatment, my parents were still able to keep my family together, somehow manage their professional lives, and I was able to be close enough to receive the community support that played such a critical role in my ability to overcome cancer,” he told Oswego County Today.
One of Conner’s inspirations is American athlete Erik Weihenmayer, the only blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest. The Make-a-Wish Foundation helped Conners meet Weihenmayer.
Conners has a goal of giving back to the children’s hospital and other organizations that helped him. He is raising money to donate through speaking engagements and sales of his book, “It’s Impossible Until You Do It: Succeeding in the Face of Adversity.”
This article appears in the spring 2017 issue of Cancer Care magazine.