Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fourteen-Year-Old Mountain Climber Raises Awareness About PH

Fourteen-year-old Matthew Moniz of Boulder, Colo., has astonished the world by being one of the most accomplished young mountain climbers. At only 9 years old, he completed his first expedition, climbing to Everest Base Camp at 17,200 feet and a summit of Kala Patar at 18,501 feet with his climbing partner and father, Mike Moniz.

Since then Matt has continued his passion for climbing and was named one of National Geographic’s Adventurers of the Year in 2010. His enthusiasm and bravery have led him to set the world record for being the youngest person to climb Mount Elbrus, the highest point in Europe, and Cerro Aconcagua, the highest point in the Americas. Matt set another record for climbing every United States high point in just 43 days (50 states in 43 days) — the fastest time on record! He is also the youngest person to accomplish this feat.

Not only is Matt devoted to climbing and breaking records, he is also devoted to friendship. Matt’s best friend, Iain Hess, was diagnosed with primary pulmonary arterial hypertension in 2005 at the tender age of 5. Iain and Matt are like brothers and grew up as next door neighbors. However, as a result of Iain’s PAH, he had to move to a new home at a lower altitude. The distance has not separated the two and they are still closer than ever. Although Iain cannot climb all of the mountains Matt can, he climbed three Flatirons and made it to the very top of the third. The two were featured on “The Morning Show” on CBS.

Since Iain has PAH, Matt has a very unique way of raising awareness about pulmonary hypertension by climbing mountains. He shared all about it at the PHA Tomorrow: Scaling Mountains to Achieve Our Dreams Breakfast this morning.

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