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Mar 8, 2011 8:16 PM by Stephanie Collins

Cancer survivor's quest for Everest

Since the first successful climb up Mt. Everest in 1953, more than 2,000 people have reached the summit, now a local man hopes to be included in that number.

Mark Schaible is preparing to climb the world's highest mountain, "To be at one point the highest person on earth, for that one moment, is huge."

After beating a terminal cancer, called Waldenstrom's Macroglobulinemia, Schaible knows he can do it, "I had cancer in my lymph system, cancer in my blood and about 96% of a bone marrow sample they took was cancerous," He explains.

That was in 1999, since then he's gone through multiple treatments and a bone marrow transplant, and he's been cancer free for more than six and a half years.

So why climb Everest? "To show people that have been given terminal illnesses, that you can lead your live versus accepting your life," Schaible says.

He didn't have any climbing experience when he caught the Everest bug about two years ago, so for the last 18 months he's been training, climbing 14ers and the Incline in Manitou Springs.

When he climbs the Incline, he doesn't just do it once, but three times; and he adds weight to simulate the pack he'll be carrying up Everest, "When people come up they see all these water bottles hanging off me and i carry barbells in my back pack," he explains.

A former Air Force test pilot, Mark has always been an extreme type of person. Now he really wants to prove something by reaching the summit of Everest, "This is the pinnacle of what you can achieve if you really set your mind to it and you're determined to not let cancer lead your life versus you leading your life."

Mark leaves for his Everest expedition in just a few weeks on March 27th. Click here to go to his website to track his progress.

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