Meet Evan Greene. He’s an MG patient, active MGFA volunteer, advisor and donor. He also used to be an avid outdoorsman and adventure sportsman. Myasthenia has put many of his favorite activities out of reach, but not all. Here he shares about his incredible recent extreme-endurance adventure in California this past summer.
I love being outdoors and in situations where I must rely on my own skills and abilities. MG has severely affected my arms and my upper body strength, making my previous lifestyle impossible. Fortunately, my legs have not been impacted.
After 18 months of COVID-led quarantine, and the closure of America’s national parks, I was desperate to get outside and off the couch. So, one day, on a drive to the mountains with my family, I took notice of Mt. Whitney, and immediately committed to reaching the tallest point in the continental U.S.
There are a limited number of climbing permits issued each year, and after applying to the Mt. Whitney lottery process, I was fortunate enough to be granted a slot. I was assigned the date of June 17, 2021, so that was the target I worked towards.
Wanting to really challenge myself, I decided that rather than spending two to three days on the mountain, and camping at night, I was going to do all 22 miles in a single, non-stop push. I did my research, determined the optimal nutrition plan, and evaluated the elevation gain, length of time and overall logistics of the trek to the summit.
I began my climb at 10:15 p.m. on June 16, and, hiking all through the night, I experienced pure solitude and serenity. I was treated to an incalculable number of stars in the evening sky. I had my breath taken away by sunrise at over 14,000 feet, and after 11 miles and over 6,000 feet of elevation gain, I reached the summit at 7:00 a.m. on June 17.
As I got closer to the peak, I became more and more energized. The perspective from that altitude is spectacular, humbling, and life-affirming all at the same time. Standing on the summit made the previous nine hours well worth it.
After a glorious 45 minutes at the tallest point in the continental U.S., I began my descent, reaching my car once again at 3:00 p.m., almost 16 hours after I started.
While my MG diagnosis forced me to re-evaluate who I thought I was – my sense of self, the activities that defined me and my future goals -- it did not stop me. More than eighteen years after my diagnosis, I feel more determined than ever to appreciate the blessings in my life.
MG is a thief! It has taken so much from me. It has taken things I love away… certain of life’s pleasures… my lifestyle. But it cannot take away my spirit and my sense of life.
I’m proof positive that I define me, not MG. MG has slowed me down, bit it can never stop me. I often remind myself to reaffirm the joys in life that can be achieved with the right mindset and commitment.