“I’ve had a steadfast hand to hold for about five years. My fiancé and I met in college where we started going on long walks and sparked conversations that have yet to end. For seven years, we stayed platonic soulmates. Christine lived in India and traveled around South Asia. Brad forayed to Finland, Chicago, and Connecticut. Finally, over spaghetti and Brad’s rendition of “Arrivederci Roma,” we began our romance and moved back to upstate New York.
The wedding was scheduled for July 4th, 2020. COVID-19 put an end to that, as it has so many plans, and lives. As the pandemic crossed borders, Christine came down with worrying respiratory symptoms: persistent cough, fever and chills, chest pain. We cycled through treatments and fears. Eventually, a CT scan revealed a telltale growth in her left lung that our doctor called a cavitation. She asked, “Is there any reason you could have been exposed to tuberculosis?”Well, yes: Ukraine, Turkey, South Africa, Chile, India, to name a few of the places Christine investigated and reported on human rights abuses.
As society shut down, we settled in to fight this ancient adversary. We learned that about 2 billion people, or a quarter of the world population, are infected with the TB germ, according to the WHO. We were lucky. Christine must swallow a slew of antibiotics every day for at least six months, but she will recover. Millions of afflicted are less lucky. Infectious diseases like TB and COVID-19 hit poorer-resourced, marginalized, and underserved communities harder. Too often, infections rampage through communities, medicines are prohibitively expensive, and prognoses are dire.
In the midst of loss and uncertainty, we decided to do something to “take back 2020.” On a whim, we applied for an “Adventure Grant” from the non-alcoholic craft brewer Adventure Brewing with the goal of hiking all 46 peaks above 4,000 feet in New York’s Adirondack Park, where this hand photo was taken. We proposed doing this to raise money to fight infectious disease. We won.
Now we need to see it through. And we need a helping hand. Who doesn’t, these days?”
See more about Brad and Christine’s hiking initiative here: “Something To Hike About” and consider donating to help cure infectious diseases, namely tuberculosis and coronavirus.
(Oswegatchie, New York. Land of Oswegatchie people)
Submit your own hand and piece of wisdom here: ToHoldAHand@gmail.com
Why hands? Click here for the story of how AH2H began.