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Hikers top Telegraph Pass 12 times on 12-12-12
To celebrate 12-12-12 on Wednesday, several Yumans walked to the summit of Telegraph Pass — 12 times.
The event, the Yuma 12-12-12 Challenge, was created by Wendy Beckers as a fundraiser for Parkinson's disease research in honor of her brother-in-law, Chuck, who was recently diagnosed with the condition.
“I really wanted to do this for him. I did it to show him I care about him and I really wanted people to take notice of this disease.”
Chuck came to the event and was able to hike alongside her to the summit three times “with his hands shaking and everything,” Beckers said. “He was a trouper. The fact that I got to hike up with him all three times was just amazing.”
Plenty of “goodwill” was “spread around the mountain,” she continued. “It was just great. Everybody was encouraging each other and high-fiving each other. It was an all around good-vibe day. It was awesome.”
About 35 people participated in the challenge. “I imagine there are quite a few blisters,” Beckers said with a laugh.
However, not all 35 hikers finished all 12 trips to the top and back.
“People did it for varying lengths,” Beckers said. “Some people only did it once. Some people only did three or four times. The point was that they set a goal for themselves and they all achieved their goal, which was really great.”
Those who completed the challenge were given medals to commemorate their accomplishment.
Beckers began the challenge at about 5:30 a.m. and continued hiking for the next nine hours until she had completed her quest.
“It was a lot of hiking,” she said, but well worth it, noting the experience was “just absolutely amazing. It is one of those things where you think something is not within your reach, and when you realize that it is within your reach and you have the power to accomplish it, it is the best feeling in the world.”
Laurel Jordan, a teacher at Gila Ridge High School, also completed the challenge. Each time she reached the summit, she left one Christmas tree ornament until there were a dozen at the top.
“I started at 6 o'clock and it took eight and a half hours to do all 12 up and down,” Jordan said.
“I think it is just determination, and that is one of the reasons I really wanted to do it. If you don't ever set goals, you don't ever go anywhere. I just wanted to have something to work towards. We are never going to have a 12-12-12 again and it is kind of a meaningful thing.”
The challenge was empowering for Jordan. About 10 years ago, she was involved “in a near-fatal car accident and came out of that barely able to walk,” she said.
Since then, she has “done marathons and several half-marathons. It is just one of those things people need to know. If they set their mind to do something, they just need to do it. That is why I give myself a challenge and go for it.”
Jordan greatly enjoyed participating in the challenge.
“It is great exercise and is very mind freeing. You socialize and solve the world's problems because you have time to think and it is very peaceful. It is awesome.”
Beckers raised about $500 for Parkinson's disease research. For those who were unable to attend the challenge but would still like to donate to the cause, they can do so by buying a “12-12-12” shirt online at www.yuma121212.com.
Chris McDaniel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6849.