Earlier today, there was an earthquake of 7.8 magnitude in Nepal, killing over 1,000. The earthquake also impacted climbers and trekkers, with frantic reports still coming in regarding avalanches in the Himalayas. My prayers and condolences go to all those affected by this tragedy - I will be keeping up and aiding with my best ability to the recovery efforts. My thoughts, as I prepare for this climb, will stay with these people affected.
This is where I will be posting my updates, information, and my everyday-journal during the climb. I will be posting photos, videos, and text logs of my progress towards my attempt and eventually the peak I am aiming to summit. To start, I want to emphasize the impact that Monique has played on my life. As high-school classmates, and fellow choir member, I remember it started as a coincidental friendship- we were driving in her car, which she had named Marty, until a song we both knew came on. We both sang, very loud, in excitement, until Monique suddenly turned off the car. She asked me, "Andy, you know you CAN sing, right? You should audition for chamber choir." She was a prominent part of the selective choir at our high school, and I was simply a new kid, who always had an anxiety of fitting in as I moved multiple times throughout my childhood- from South Korea, to Connecticut, and to where I met Momo, Hauppauge, New York. I loved to sing, and I enjoyed even more singing with my friends- but I always lacked confidence in anything I have done to that point in my life. Through the next few weeks, Monique introduced me to the friends that I made and will cherish forever, (we called ourselves "Ohana") and a passion of mine which reminds me of her impact on my life. She helped me to not only make the chamber choir, but receive a perfect score on the level 4 NYSSMA solo- with a song she usually liked to sing, "Caro Mio Ben."
Our friendship developed even further, as we both attended Binghamton University. As freshmen, we became even closer, sharing the memories I still cherish today and use as motivation in finishing my studies. After our second semester started, I was struck with the news that Monique had been diagnosed with HLH(Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis). I lost my best friend on January 31st to the condition. Put short, this event not only tragically impacted me, but on the other hand, inspired me to pursue my dreams and to fulfill something I had dreamt of, pursue my passion, just as she taught me.
This is why I am writing here today, to pursue my life-long dream of climbing the Himalayas, and to honor my friend. Her message and impact on my outlook on life resonates me to this day, and I want to do something extraordinary; as well as take part in the research efforts against the terrible condition. The proceeds will go to the fees for my journey to reach the heights I've never been before, and I know that Momo will be there with me, each and every step as I trace our memories and towards a cure for HLH in the 1-month expedition.