Superior Man To Climb Mt. Rainier to Support Pediatric Cancer

Girga will make his trek up Mt. Rainier on August 1st.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- Some people may run marathons or travel long distances to help bring awareness to a great cause.

But a Superior man is taking it a step further by committing to climb Mt. Rainier in Washington to support childhood cancer.

Mt. Rainier stands nearly 15,000 feet high. At the top temperatures can become very cold even in the summer.

But none of that is stopping Andy Girga from bringing attention to a cause that hits so close to home.

Carrying a weighted backpack, Andy Girga walks through millennium trail in superior to help him build strength for his long journey of climbing Mt. Rainier.

“It’s exciting, but it is going to be challenging,” said Girga.

Some may ask why is he taking on something many could only imagine accomplishing?

“My goal is to make it to the top,” said Girga.

Andy is aiming so high to show support for one of his closest friends Jake Nettleton.

“Jake is my life long friend. We both grew up in Superior,” said Girga

In august of 2014 Nettleton’s four year old son Mason was diagnosed with Wilms Tumor. A cancer that attacks the kidneys.

“It shook them and it shook us,” Girga reacts.

Every year more than 500 kids are diagnosed with the disease.

“Just imagine that one of your children or child has cancer. what that means and how scary that is. how much you would have to adjust your lifestyle,” Girga explains.

Jake Nettleton and his wife Briana started the non profit Footprints of Fight.

The organization’s goal is to help minimize the stress on families dealing with pediatric cancer.

“Travel expenses and meals. All the travel going back and forth to hospitals for treatment,” said Girga. “Everyday expenses the stuff you don’t think about but it adds up and eventually need to address it.”

Last year alone Footprints of fight helped more than 100 families.

And this year they are hoping to help even more.

“So far we’ve raised over $55,000 our goal is to raise $65,000.”

Girga has nearly two weeks left to prepare for his climb up Mt. Rainier.

He realizes it will take a lot strength to make it happen.

Girga said, “This backpack has about 40 pounds and that’s what we are going to bring up, so it is a lot of mental and physical, but in the long run its helping our friends out and helping families.

But he is up for the challenge even if it means addressing his fears.

“I’ve never climbed a mountain before,” said Girga. “I wouldn’t say i am really afraid of heights maybe i don’t really like them. so that’ll be interesting to see.

Girga hopes his trek up mt. rainier will inspire others.

“Try to put yourself in other peoples shoes. i don’t like to imagine my kids or any kids getting cancer. It happens and when that happens people need help,” said Girga.

Good news Mason is now cancer free, but Footprints of Fight will continue to fight for families.

Girga is expected to climb Mt. Rainier in August.

A fundraiser for Footprints of Fight has also been set up.

Click here if you would like to donate would like to donate.

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