CHICAGO (CBS) — A suburban man who survived pancreatic cancer has a new mountain to climb. Literally.
During a post-cancer checkup at Northwest Community Hospital in April, 68-year-old Ken Brown learned his oncology surgeon was planning to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, which is a dream Brown has had since 2011.
He initially turned down Dr. Malcolm Bilimoria’s invitation to join him, but Brown’s daughter-in-law had him rethink it.
“What better opportunity to go ahead and fulfill one of your dreams — a longtime dream — and do it with a doctor who was instrumental in helping you get to this place,” Brown said. “I said, ‘Malcolm, you can’t go without me.'”
The two have a special bond that started four years ago.
“Ken had the most common cancer of the pancreas called adenocarcinoma. It’s a cancer that 55,000 people a year get in the United States. It’s the devastating cancer that we think about when we hear about pancreas cancer,” Dr. Bilimoria said.
But after chemo, surgery and another round of chemo, Brown beat the odds.
Now, Brown, a Highland Park attorney, has been training and plans to join Dr. Bilimoria and eight other climbers, who hope to summit the world’s tallest free-standing mountain.
“To be able to be here today, and to try to fulfill another goal, I feel very fortunate,” Brown said.
Brown leaves for Tanzania on Thursday, and the group will begin their climb on Sunday. If all goes as planned, it should take six days to reach the summit. Brown says he’s not concerned about whether or not he will make it to the top, as he said he believes he’s already hiked the tallest mountain anyone can with Dr. Bilimoria.
“I am perfectly envisioning that Ken is going to be carrying me up to the top of the mountain,” Dr. Bilimoria said.