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Athlete battling cancer completes '10 summit challenge' to raise money for those with disabilities

Are Valley hotels educating tourists on hiking?
Posted at 6:41 AM, Mar 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-03 10:12:12-05

PHOENIX — It's 4:30 in the morning and Timothy Bolen is gearing up to go for the ultimate hike.

"The goal is to be done before dark," Bolen says. "We'll go from 5 in the morning until 6, 6:30 at night."

Alongside his friends, he's preparing to climb Piestewa Peak a total of 10 times. That's about 23 miles and 11,000 feet of elevation.

After a quick photo, the group begins the day-long climb. While each step isn't easy, Bolen says he'll push through.

"I just had treatment on Monday," he said. "So, this will be kind of a challenge today."

The athlete, who has run marathons and competed in Ironman Triathlons, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lymphoma last year.

"It's something you don't really prepare yourself for," Bolen said. "Rocked my world because I've been athletic since 9 years old. I've been running my whole life."

He's also dedicated his life to giving those who can't run themselves a chance to cross the finish line. Bolen is the creator of 2Gether We Live, a nonprofit that provides athletic opportunities for individuals with disabilities. His team will often go for a run while pushing strollers, allowing them to go along for the ride.

"They’re sitting at home 80% of their life," Bolen said. "For us to be able to provide every couple of weekends, we'll go for a run around Tempe Town Lake, we'll get them with other families. I think that's probably one of the biggest benefits of the program is being able to put the parents together while we take their loved ones out for a run for an hour."

Bolen says it's a free activity for families inspired by his niece.

"One of our goals was to run a marathon together," he said. "We had been talking about that since she was 8, 9 years old and she had passed on her 10th birthday."

So as Bolen climbs up the mountain, each peak he reaches represents an athlete who can't do it on their own.

As he makes his way down for the tenth time, right before the sun sets, it's a reminder that while some parts of life may look challenging from the surface, even the biggest mountains are still possible to overcome.

"I have cancer, there's no cure. My prayer is that there will be one day soon," Bolen said. "Until then, I'm just going to live the best life I can to all my friends and those people that are around me in my life and keep charging on."

Bolen completed the "10 summit challenge" in about 13 hours and raised over $6,000 for his organization. If you'd like to learn more about 2gether We Live, click here.