Denver resident Cori Goldstein and her husband, Aaron, had occasionally made donations to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation to support a college friend who’s passionate about the cause.
But this year they’re going the extra mile – or rather, 30.1 miles – by joining the foundation for its semi-annual Xtreme Hike.
The couple, along with five of their friends, have pledged to hike 30.1 miles along the Appalachian Trail on Sept. 29 and raise $21,000 for the CFF by Oct. 31.
“Basically my husband and I have a friend from college, and he has a close friend with cystic fibrosis,” Goldstein said.
The hike started as a symbolic gesture, Goldstein explained. Because cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease that causes lung infections and limits the ability to breathe, the idea behind hiking 30.1 miles is that it’s strenuous enough to challenge your lungs.
And because the hike is meant to be a challenge, those who sign up to participate receive a training schedule, which includes self-guided hikes on various trails as well as group hikes.
Goldstein said her family enjoys hiking, but this will be their first major trek. She said they’ve been training by taking their children to places like Crowders Mountain and even incorporated some hiking into their summer vacation.
The seven-member team completed its first group training session recently when they hiked 17 miles on a portion of the Appalachian Trail they’ll be hiking at the end of the month.
“I think I’ve only hiked twice before, and they were both preparing for this,” Christina Walters, who’s on the team, laughed. “We kind of said yes without having hiked before.”
Walters said Goldstein was the one who encouraged her to give it a shot.
“It’s a lot of fun ‒ a great group of motivating, fun people,” Goldstein said. “It’s fun people getting together for a great cause.”
In addition to training for the hike, raising money is also a team effort.
Goldstein said she’s planning on hosting a yard sale Sept. 8 where her son, Colson, will be selling lemonade.
“Our oldest son, who’s 8,” Goldstein said, “has been dying to do a lemonade stand to help, so he’s going to do that for the yard sale, and we’re looking at other places around the area for us to give back.”
Other fundraising events include selling barbecue at a Panthers tailgate party, tailgating at N.C. State – where the team went to college, setting up a booth at Denver Days and more.
Walters said she’s happy to be supporting the CFF but recognizes the team has a long road ahead.
“I think the finish (of the hike) should be a big celebration because of all our effort,” she said. “I’m not looking forward to those 30 miles, but those last couple miles sound great.”