The term “grassroots” gets thrown around a lot–and I feel like the final 24 hours of our funding push is an appropriate time to consider it.

Since I started pushing towards this summers expedition (about 6 months ago) way before any talk of fundraising, I got more friendly suggestions as to which company I should approach for funding than I could count. After all, what we are doing could be spectacular marketing. The first ever all-diabetic new-route expedition–unsupported (no medical staff, no guides, cooks or the like). Over 4,000 people have stood on Everest, many paying over 60,000+ a head. We are seeking out routes that have had 0 ascents before us.

We are doing all the legwork ourselves–and we are damn proud of that fact. The climbing, the exploring, the filming–and the suffering, when necessary–it’s ours. I have been excited about this expedition for some time and did my due diligence seeking corporate support. Months of emailing proposals and hearing ‘no’ or ‘wow, that’s amazing–but we don’t have the money for it’.

Nevertheless, we decided as a team to move forward, because we know that we can do this the easy way or the hard way, but we will find a way one way or the other. Industry support can be a really sweet opportunity, but it is not the lifeblood of diabetes advocacy–or at least it shouldn’t be. Grassroots means people coming together to support something because it matters to them and not leaving it up to marketing departments.

In the final 24 hours, I can’t say if we are going to reach our funding goal or not. I can say that simply taking matters into our own hands makes a statement. Thank you for giving us that gift. It’s just like in climbing–it’s not the summit alone that matters. To dare to attempt the climb in the first place is the biggest bite of the apple.

matt spohn rock climbing las vegas nevada red rock canyon