They saved my life…

These organizations have changed my life and the lives of so many other children with disabilities and life-threatening illnesses. I’ve partnered with K2 Adventures Foundation to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, support my mission and raise awareness for these live-saving organizations along the way.


NoBarriers logoNo Barriers USA’s history began in 2003 when two separate teams of individuals launched organizations designed to change people’s lives by providing transformative educational experiences. One, No Barriers USA, started by working with adults and children with disabilities while the other, Global Explorers, reached middle and high schools students. Both believed that by taking people out of their comfort zones and exploring the world, you could forever shift the lens through which they saw and navigated their lives. No Barriers USA’s mission is to unleash the potential of the human spirit.  Through transformative experiences, tools and inspiration, we help people embark on a quest to contribute their absolute best to the world.  In the process, we foster a community of curious, brave and collaborative explorers who are determined to live the No Barriers Life.

The reason this organization is so important to me and why I have chosen it as one of the organizations I want to give back to through MounTimpossible is because it was the group that taught me I didn’t need to have my sight in order to have vision. Since connecting with co-founder Erik Weihenmayer, completely blind adventurer who climbed the 7 summits including Everest, I have gained the confidence to realize that anything is possible in my life even if I can’t see with my eyes. As No Barriers says, what’s in you is stronger then what’s in your way, and ever since getting involved with this organization this is how I choose to live my life. Through different programs such as the No Barriers Summit, which I have attended 3 of, that push everyone in attendance to embrace the No Barriers life, a No Barriers Youth trek through the Grand Canyon in 2014 where I learned what it truly meant to see again as well as a feeling of success I had never experienced before after conquering a 9 and ½ mile hike on the Bright Angel Trail, and most recently the No Barriers What’s Your Everest event where a group of people with varying ability levels hiked a mountain together to experience what it means to break barriers in life, I have continued to become a stronger individual and I can’t thank this organization enough. Ultimately No Barriers USA helps move Mountains for people , who have, currently are, or may experience something in their life which clouds their vision of what is possible for them, giving them the ability to see the strength and opportunities inside themselves, and I couldn’t be happier to have them as one of the organizations that MounTimpossible is going to raise awareness and funds for!

Visit http://www.nobarriersusa.org/

Founded by former New England Patriots offensive guard Joe Andruzzi and his wife Jen in 2008, the Joe Andruzzi Foundation grew out of Joe’s own successful battle with cancer and the couple’s ongoing work with young cancer patients. In 2007, Joe was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins Burkitt’s lymphoma, ending his football career. Joe is now cancer free, but a new passion grew from his own cancer experience: helping other patients and their families. After witnessing first-hand the stress cancer can cause, Joe and Jen created a foundation to help cancer patients and their families meet life’s day-to- day challenges. The Joe Andruzzi Foundation is dedicated to providing financial assistance to patients and families, helping them focus on recovery – not bills. It also funds research at Boston Children’s Hospital, building on the Andruzzis’ longstanding commitment to cutting edge pediatric brain cancer research. They also strive to keep families positive through the Foundation’s (Up)Beat cancer initiative, organizing outings and visits with New England’s professional athletes. The Foundation believes laughter is the best medicine, and aims to help families forget cancer now and then – through fun, humor and good times.

The reason this organization is so important to me and why I have chosen it as one of the organizations I want to give back to through MounTimPossible is because Joe and Jen are amazing people who have used their status in order to help many individuals and family members dealing with cancer in their lives including my family and me. When I was dying in the hospital post my bone marrow transplant, Joe happened to be visiting the transplant floor of Boston Children’s Hospital talking to people and showing his super bowl rings, and that would be the first time my family and I would get to meet him. Like the motto says the foundation wants to upbeat cancer, and Joe is a great person to exemplify what that really means. Although sometimes it isn’t thought of much, when someone like me is sick, not everyone takes the time to think about how the rest of the family is impacted by a dreaded disease like cancer. I mean my brother was not only my bone marrow donor, but he was a perfect match for me, and is the main reason I am still here today. One reason why meeting Joe was so amazing was that he not only gave me hope and inspiration, but he was there for my family as well, which included getting my father and brother stadium passes to a Patriots Vikings game. My brother is a huge Vikings fan, so this was an amazing experience for him and looking back now I am glad someone wasn’t just looking out for me, but my family as well who sacrificed so much for me like my brother did being my donor at the same time he was starting as a first year at college. Joe and Jen have continued to support me in my endeavors post my Bone Marrow Transplant, and they even gave me the opportunity to be their key note speaker at their celebrity golf tournament where I meant Patriots players and other celebrities which I have to say was a little daunting at the time but still amazing. Ultimately the Joe Andruzzi foundation helps move Mountains for cancer patients and their families as well as strives to accomplish the goal to upbeat cancer, and I couldn’t be happier to have them as one of the organizations that MounTimPossible is going to raise awareness and funds for!

Visit http://joeandruzzifoundation.org/

golisano hospital logo
The Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital, which opened its doors on Sept. 23, 2009, contains over 70 private patient rooms with in-room sleep accommodations for families, as well as a slew of amenities, including lounges, playrooms, a café with my personal favorite, ice cream, solarium, and a performance and family resource center. This Children’s hospital located in the heart of Syracuse New York has not only brought in some of the best and the brightest pediatric specialists in the world, but since its opening in 2009 it has played a major role in treating children with life threatening illnesses in the upstate New York region.

The reason this organization is so important to me and why I have chosen it as one of the organizations I want to give back to through MounTimpossible is because this hospital saves children’s lives, and it is the reason I am still alive today. The Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital isn’t just a place where kids go to receive their treatment, it is an environment with some of the greatest doctors, nurses, staff, and people I have ever encountered, so many amenities, which at times made me forget I was even in a hospital, opportunities for family support, and best of all it is located right in my backyard. Not having to travel far to receive my treatment, my parents were still able to keep my family together, somehow manage their professional lives, and I was able to be close enough to receive the community support that played such a critical role in my ability to overcome cancer. Also, after losing the ability to walk from complications associated with my bone marrow transplant, Upstate Golisano Children’s hospital was the first place where I started my long road back to recovery receiving in patient physical therapy and occupational therapy.

Ultimately the Upstate Golisano Children’s Hospital helps move Mountains for children and their families, who have, currently are, or may experience a life threatening illness in their lives, and I couldn’t be happier to have them as one of the organizations that MounTimpossible is going to raise awareness and funds for!

Visit http://www.upstate.edu/gch/

michael-napoleone photoThe Michael Napoleone Memorial Foundation, Inc., established in 2007, is in memory of Michael C. Napoleone, the eight year-old son of Mark and Laurie Napoleone from Batavia, NY who died from Burkitts Lymphoma/Leukemia, an aggressive form of blood cancer. During Michael’s illness, the community rallied around the family to assist with food, gas, medical bills and other necessities. The not-for- profit foundation, a 501(c)3 organization, was created to give back to those who cared, to give forward to those in need, and to support research efforts in finding a cure for childhood cancer.

The reason this organization is so important to me and why I have chosen it as one of the organizations I want to give back to through MounTimpossible is because even though I wasn’t a relative of the Napoleones, Mark and Laurie have supported me in my fight against cancer like I was another member of their family. Whether it was through funding to assist my family financially with all of the travel and treatments I was undergoing at the time at the various medical facilities I was going to, inviting me to be the key note speaker at multiple fundraisers like the Kentucky Derby themed event and Little League Baseball Tournament, which gave me the courage and confidence to share my story and inspire others to live, or just wanting to get together to have a Conners Napoleone family barbeque to celebrate life, I can’t thank Mark, Laurie, their family, and the foundation enough for what they have done for me and I know do for many others as well. Ultimately the Michael Napoleone Memorial foundation helps move Mountains for children, who have, currently are, or may experience cancer in their lives, and I couldn’t be happier to have them as one of the organizations that MounTimpossible is going to raise awareness and funds for!

Visit http://www.michaelshope.org/