Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice - Sheboygan, WI

Climbing for Hospice

Moxie Column (August 2014)
Column - What We Should Know About End-of-Life Care
Feature –Climbing for Hospice
By:  Angelia Neumann, Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice
Submitted 8/29/14 by Angelia Neumann, Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice

We often use the word ‘mountain’ when referencing challenges we must face and overcome.  With so many metaphoric mountains in our lives, what drives people to climb real ones?  A recent Discovery News article by Emily Sohn on this topic stated, “for adventurers who are drawn to Everest, the mountain’s top is a lifelong dream that inspires intense preparation and a deep sense of reverence.”  In that article, Everest blogger Alan Arnette is quoted as saying, “It represents the ultimate, the pinnacle for many people. Surpassing the “death zone” above 8,000 meters, standing on top of the world and returning home safely is an experience unlike any other…There are a thousand reasons to turn around and only one to keep going. You really have to focus on the one reason that’s most important and unique to you.”

For some, the motivation for climbing Mt. Everest is to prove they have the physical and mental strength and endurance that relatively few of us on earth possess.  For other adventure seekers, it’s the thrill of the risk.  But for one man, the motivation is to ensure that you and I have the opportunity to die well.

Andy Land, director of the Hospice and Palliative Care Services at Agnesian Health Care in Fond du Lac, is taking on the challenge of Mt. Everest to raise awareness and funding for hospice education in Wisconsin. Starting in March of 2015, Land will begin his three month journey to the “death zone” and he’s hoping you and your neighbors will support his efforts.  The cost of the expedition has been covered and any money raised will go to the “Climbing for Hospice” campaign. The campaign’s purpose is to educate the public about hospice in Wisconsin and to fund ongoing training of hospice staff and volunteers.

So why would he choose to travel so far away and climb to the top of the world to impact hospice in Wisconsin?  Maybe it’s that deep sense of reverence Sohn mentions. Having worked as a hospice nurse for over 14 years, Land believes the challenge of climbing Mt. Everest summons the “courage, dignity and determination” he sees in hospice patients. “It’s all about hoping for a more peaceful end of life journey with as little pain as possible, as well as meaningful goodbyes.” Land is willing to tackle the hardships and risks of mountain climbing to ensure you and I, and our loved ones in Wisconsin, understand and have access to hospice services.

The monies raised will be used to improve awareness and access to hospice as measured by the number of patients who died using hospice services. For more information on Land’s climb and how to support Team Andy, visit or call Hope of Wisconsin at (800) 210-0220.

Angelia Neumann is director of development and communications at Sharon S. Richardson Community Hospice in Sheboygan Falls.