UPMC neurosurgeon Joe Maroon will climb Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania with 10 people who are missing arms, legs or both, but not a spirit of adventure.
Dr. Maroon was asked to be the medical director for the "No Limits" expedition by his friend Rajesh Durbal. They met three years ago, during the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii, a 2.4-mile ocean swim, then a 112-mile bike ride, followed by a full marathon, 26.2 miles.
"I got to mile 130 [in the marathon portion of the race] and was all in," Dr. Maroon recalled. "I was about to head for the medical tent when I heard this click click behind me. A hand reaches out and touches me on the shoulder.
" 'Hey, you can't quit,' this guy said. 'You're too close. Follow me to the finish.'
"Just then a car passed by. I could see in the headlights that this guy had no legs and only one arm," Dr. Maroon said. Mr. Durbal finished that Ironman in 14 hours and 19 minutes with Dr. Maroon on his heels. They've been friends ever since.
An information technology engineer in Orlando, Fla., Mr. Durbal was born with bones missing in both legs and a deformed right arm.
After becoming a born-again Christian in 2007, Mr. Durbal started the Live Free foundation to "encourage, motivate and inspire" people who are "lost and suffering, with no hope in life."
The purpose of the Kilimanjaro climb, Dr. Maroon said, is to "show that one's altitude depends on one's attitude." The climb will begin Thursday. It will take them five days to climb up the mountain, three to come back down.
TRAS celebrates 25 years
Three Rivers Adaptive Sports will celebrate its 25th year of providing recreational opportunities for people with disabilities with a screening of the award-winning film "The Movement."
Narrated by Robert Redford and Warren Miller, the film profiles five people who found joy and inspiration and the determination to overcome obstacles through skiing.
In addition to alpine skiing, TRAS offers adaptive water skiing, cycling, canoeing, kayaking, golf and other sports.
The Evening with TRAS will be held at the Hollywood Theater, 1449 Potomac Ave., Dormont, on March 7. Before the screening of the film at 8 p.m., there will be a wine and hors d'oeuvres reception beginning at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $25 per person, or $160 for eight. To purchase, contact Kathy Philson at 412-491-4748.
Jack Kelly: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1476.