On November 30th we concluded our 2015 fundraising season. Soon we will tally the numbers, announce the total amount raised, and distribute the main funds to the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the Appalachian Trail Conservancy, and the Pacific Crest Trail Association.
Before we do that, however, we would like to take a moment to thank our sponsors and honor our top five fundraisers. Without the help of all of you – passionate hikers, mental health advocates, and trail stewards – we would not be the thriving all-volunteer organization we are today.
Congratulations to Joseph “Psych” O’Donnell for completing his Appalachian Trail thru-hike (4/6-8/26) and being our top fundraiser of 2015. In total, Joe raised $8,841.00, or over $4 per mile of the 2,189-mile AT! In addition to his fundraising efforts, Joe also blogged about his trail experiences. We are pleased to award Joe our 2015 Top Hiker Gear Package, comprising more than $1,000 of top-brand gear, for his impressive fundraising efforts!
In second and third place were two of our 2016 AT thru-hikers, Maya Macdonald and Leland McKeeman. Maya, who plans to hike after her graduation next year, raised $6,721.85. At $5,155.36, Leland is well on his way toward his $10 per mile goal of $21,810. We wish them the best in their preparations for their upcoming thru-hikes and hope they continue to build upon their impressive fundraising efforts throughout their journeys. We are rooting for you, Maya and Leland!
In fourth and fifth place were a trio of hikers known as “Skoop Hikers” and Deirdre “Beerdra” Smith, all of whom were thru-hiking the Pacific Crest Trail. Skoop Hikers raised $4,088 and Deirdre, $3,166.31. Henry Friedrich, Emily Burns and Daniel Granrose hiked the PCT in honor of Daniel’s mom, Kate Granrose, who lost her battle with bi-polar disorder. Deirdra hiked over 2,000 miles of the PCT, decided to pause her hike due to wildfires, and plans to return and complete the rest of her hike next year.
Hikers from across the US and Canada
In total, over 32 US states and Canada were represented by hikers. Hikes ranged from AT, PCT and Florida Trail thru-hikes, to our 4th Annual Mt. Washington Summit hike, to other hikes in CA, TX, KY, GA, NY, NJ, to name a few. We look forward to continuing to spread our message of hope and encouragement to others as we continue to organize more hikes around the country at a grassroots level. Thank you again to all hike organizers and fundraisers!
And finally, a thank you to our 2015 sponsors: Leki, Lightheart Gear, ZPacks, Kelty, Point6, Princeton Tec, and Vasque Shoes! All of these companies are top gear providers to the hiking and backpacking communities who support our mission and can help us spread awareness in the future. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with them.
Happy Holidays and Happy New Year from all of us here at HIKE for Mental Health!