Mom Raises $1 Million By Skiing 125 Miles Cross Country For Her Daughter
It was the most challenging journey of her life. But it was 100% worth it.
It's true that parents will do anything for their kids – in my house that includes making pancakes for dinner and watching countless hours of Sesame Street.
Alison Reynolds is no different, but she literally went the extra mile for her daughter Tia. She recently skied 125 miles across Norway to raise awareness about Tia's rare genetic disorder.
The 46-year-old mom raised about $1 million (over twice her initial goal!) from businesses, friends, family and others to pay for research to fight the disease her 17-year-old daughter suffers from, called phenylketonuria.
Here's a video of Reynolds training near her home in Washington D.C. leading up to her trip.
Phenylketonuria, often called PKU, is a rare genetic condition that causes an amino acid called phenylalanine to build up in the body. If too much of the enzyme builds up, it can cause brain damage and seizures. Since amino acids are connected to protein, it limits the types of foods that people with the disorder can eat.
Tia uses a drug called Palynziq to treat her PKU, which she has to inject into her stomach every day. The drug has helped to regulate her enzyme levels and gives her more freedom with her diet.
Tia was diagnosed with PKU, a rare genetic disorder, at birth. Alison Reynolds/Facebook
Reynolds has been raising money to fund research for PKU for years, but the skiing trip was the most extreme fundraising effort she has taken on by far. She chose Norway to honor the Norwegian biochemist who discovered and named PKU.
Reynolds, along with her ski guide, skied nearly 15 miles every day and pulled an 80-pound sled packed with supplies. The weather was brutal throughout most of her journey with 40 mph wind gusts, heavy snowfall and freezing temperatures.
Reynolds and her guide took turns pulling an 80-pound sled packed with supplies through the snow. @crossingnorwayforacure
Reynolds lost her jacket on one of the first few days of the trip. Thankfully, she had packed another one that was given to her by her mother who wore it when she skied to the North Pole two decades earlier.
"My lowest points were early on," Reynolds told The Washington Post. "I thought the weather was going to make it not doable. But I knew we had to get through it."
According to Reynolds, being out in the cold for so long was the hardest part of her journey. She slept in three layers of clothing and wore a hat, gloves and multiple jackets.
Reynolds said the cold was the most challenging part of her trip. @crossingnorwayforacure
"It required intense focus, and staying warm was the biggest challenge," Reynolds said. "Sometimes you were just kicking your legs together to stay warm."
When Reynolds returned home from her trip, she was met with stacks of cards and letters from people wishing her well on her journey. People at the family's church said they lit candles every day she was skiing.
"I was thrilled that so many people were touched by our story," she said. "I owe a huge amount of gratitude to friends and perfect strangers. People are fundamentally good."
Reynolds' family was waiting for her when she reached the end of her trip.@crossingnorwayforacure