Thursday, May 7, 2009

Goodbyes and Prayers

5300m Himex BC - Another emotional day here in basecamp as we said goodbye to a couple more members of our climbing family.

Gilad Stern headed back to South Africa to rejoin his wife Michelle whom actually had visited our BC as a member of our first group of trekkers several weeks ago when we first arrived here in the Khumbu. A wonderful couple as I wish Gillard a safe journey home as his intellect and straightforward thinking will be missed.

My climbing and tentmate from our first trip up the mountain, Eugene Constant of France, also headed home to his family today. Eugene and I labeled ourselves "the dads" on our team. I admire his decision to return home early to his family. I immensely enjoyed our conversations while on the mountain and will miss him very much. My best to Eugene and his family.

Lastly, I learned last night that my friend and teammate Christophe Vandaele's dog Leopold is fighting for his life back in NYC. A 7-year old Weimereiner, he recently collapsed and had to have emergency surgery to remove a benign tumor discovered near his heart. As a veterinarian I have a lot of compassion for animals and I know how much Leopold means to Christophe. Leopold is his family, just like my dogs are part of my family and yours are part of your family. Christophe shared with me his life story and how he has been living the American dream for the past 15 years after arriving in NYC from Belgium with no money in his pocket. Today he is a very successful businessman. I was humbled to listen and am honored to know him. It will be fun to look him up the next time I am in NYC. I can see the love he has for his companion Leopold and by this dispatch I am asking for your prayers for Leopold's timely recovery.Back to resting!