To benefit cancer charities, one CEO is trekking across the South Pole: ‘A risk worth taking’


Many people are willing to go to great lengths for the causes they care about most.

One of those people is Lance Kawaguchi, CEO of Australia’s Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. He’s gearing up to trek across Antarctica to the center of the South Pole to raise money for cancer charities.

Kawaguchi, 48, who grew up in Hawaii and now lives in Sydney, Australia, first got involved in cancer charity after his mother, longtime schoolteacher Katherine Kawaguchi, died of pancreatic cancer in 2016.

RUNNING ACROSS AMERICA TO FIGHT CANCER: UK MAN RUNS 50 MILES PER DAY FROM LA TO NYC IN MOM’S MEMORY

“It was the worst news I’d ever heard,” he told Fox News Digital.

Before she passed away in their hometown of Mililani, Hawaii, Kawaguchi’s mother encouraged her son to give back through social causes.

Cure Brain Cancer Foundation CEO Lance Kawaguchi trains two to three times a day for his upcoming trek for charity across the South Pole. (Cure Brain Cancer Foundation/iStock)

After researching global charities, Kawaguchi got involved with Cure Brain Cancer Foundation in 2021 — and then took over as CEO. 

Fox News Digital spoke to him in an on-camera interview about how the idea of walking 70 miles through freezing conditions became a goal for him.

COLORADO HOTEL FEATURES HOLIDAY COCKTAILS FOR A CAUSE BY DONATING PROCEEDS TO LOCAL ANIMAL ORGANIZATION

His commitment initially came as a surprise to Kawaguchi’s loved ones, he said, since the father of two hadn’t worked out or even “lifted a weight” in more than 30 years.

“This is really going out of my comfort zone,” he said.

Kawaguchi and mom

Kawaguchi was his mother Katherine’s only child. She passed away of pancreatic cancer in 2016.  (Cure Brain Cancer Foundation)

After hearing of someone else who completed a trek across the South Pole, he said he took it as a challenge to try it himself while adding a charitable element.

Kawaguchi invited other cancer charities around the world to join his mission to raise money as he takes on the trek. 

NEW JERSEY MAN WALKS ACROSS US TO RAISE NEARLY $100K FOR HOMELESS VETERANS: ‘RESPECT AND REVERENCE’

Individual donors can give any amount to the charity of their choice, he said.

Cure Brain Cancer Foundation has a goal of raising $2 million through its CEO’s efforts – and has already raised $915,000 – while each additional charity has set its own fundraising goals.

Cure Brain Cancer Foundation opening bell

Cure Brain Cancer Foundation CEO Lance Kawaguchi is pictured ringing the NASDAQ Opening Bell on Dec. 2, 2022. (Cure Brain Cancer Foundation)

Kawaguchi enlisted 18 different charities based in Qatar, Hong Kong, the U.K. and the U.S., including the New York-based Cancer Research Institute, with an expectation for more organizations to get involved, he said. 

For the first time ever, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation has partnered with the royal family of Qatar for the Qatar Cancer Society. 

“I’ve always been mentally strong, but I think the biggest variable for me is the physical component.”

In Hong Kong, Kawaguchi is also trekking for the Asian Fund for Cancer Research.

“By the time I actually step onto Antarctica, I think we’re going to be close to 25 [charities that are taking part] — including one in Latin America and one potentially in the Middle East,” he said.

Kawaguchi is beginning his journey on Dec. 29, 2023 — with a goal of completion on or around Jan. 5, 2024.

antarctica map

Kawaguchi will hike 70 miles to the South Pole’s 90th degree. His trek just began — on Dec. 29, 2023. (iStock)

On Christmas Day, he arrived in Punta Arenas, Chile, where he underwent gear checks and safety briefings.

The trek across the South Pole is 70 miles long at an altitude of 9,300 feet, with temperatures going as low as -22 degrees Fahrenheit.

THIS NEW YORK MAN IS CHALLENGING YOU TO RUN 50 MILES IN 31 DAYS IN MEMORY OF HIS DAD: ‘NO EXCUSES’

Kawaguchi will walk for about 10 hours every day while pulling a 90-pound sled full of essential supplies.

He will be accompanied by a medic and another team leader.

antarctica

Kawaguchi admitted he’s most concerned about the physical challenge of braving Antarctica’s extreme elements. (iStock)

“I’ve always been mentally strong, but I think the biggest variable for me is the physical component,” he said. 

“I don’t know how my body will adjust to that temperature for prolonged periods.”

NEW YORK FIREFIGHTER AND 9/11 FIRST RESPONDER TO HIKE APPALACHIAN TRAIL TO RAISE MONEY, AWARENESS FOR PTSD

During the trek, Kawaguchi will be covered from head to toe to avoid frostbite as well as sunburn, since the sun will be out 24 hours a day.

“It is so cold and uninhabitable and dry, there are no animals that can live there,” he said. “It’s essentially a frozen desert.”

lance kawaguchi

Kawaguchi spent 26 years in investment banking before becoming involved in social impact work. (Cure Brain Cancer Foundation)

Kawaguchi said he believes he is the first cancer charity CEO to do this trek across the South Pole.

NEW JERSEY MAN IS WALKING ACROSS USA FOR ‘UNACCEPTABLE’ NUMBER OF HOMELESS VETERANS

Through his 11 months of training, he increased his daily caloric intake from 1,800 to 9,000 and gained 31 pounds.

kawaguchi family

Kawaguchi (above, center, with members of his family) is fulfilling his mother’s last wishes for him to make a social impact and prioritize family. (Cure Brain Cancer Foundation)

Kawaguchi said he “still finds it difficult” to believe that cancer has been around for more than 5,000 documented years without any cure.

“If I can do this, and I can help charities raise millions of dollars for cancer across the world — what if everybody did that?” he said. 

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR OUR LIFESTYLE NEWSLETTER

He is intent on bringing together the nonprofit community, avoiding competition and promoting collaboration, he told Fox News Digital.

“You can bring people along and everybody can be successful,” he added. 

“Anything you do has an inherent risk, but if the opportunity or the upside outweighs the downside, it might be a risk worth taking.”

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

People can make donations to each cancer charity at southpoletrek4cancer.org/partners.

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *