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  • Terri Ann DiJulio

Climbing the mountain


When I look at the big picture of the COVID-19 situation; how it impacts my beloved lung cancer community, my business, my personal life, the world… For me, it’s too much to take on all at once and yesterday was not my best day for a multitude of reasons.

I was reminded of a story that I recently recounted to a good friend. Last October, my cycling soul sister, Leah, and I embarked on a girls cycling trip in Sonoma. One day during the weekend we decided on a route that took us through the redwoods to the ocean, ending with a ride along the PCH. The only catch – there was 3,800’ of climbing to get to the ocean and I have compromised lungs. We had a lovely start to the day and I was thinking 'this isn’t so bad, I can do this'. Then, we got to the mountain….

Within about a minute of climbing, or perhaps it was 30 seconds, I was gasping for air and my lungs were on fire. We stopped at the first safe area, I looked at the never-ending incline ahead us and then looked at Leah with fear in my eyes and thought, how on earth am I going to climb this mountain??? The words ‘Leah I don’t think I can do this’ passed my lips. We had a SAG (Support and Gear vehicle) with us so we could hop a ride to the top or Leah said “perhaps we take this mountain on 15 minutes at a time.” Giving it some thought and knowing how disappointed I would be in myself if I didn’t’ at least try, I said half-heartedly ‘great idea, ok let’s do it’ (no exclamation point there) and off we went. I was both surprised and encouraged when Leah called out 20 MINUTES!, she taught me a little more about keeping my heart rate in check while climbing and off we went again. With short breaks here and there and Leah calling the time 20 MINUTES!, 30 MINUTES!, 1 HOUR!, 2 HOURS, etc., the next thing I knew, Leah called out “OCEAN!” and I saw her up the road at the top of the mountain. With the reward of an ocean view and nothing but downhill in front of us, I found the energy to race up and met her at the summit!

Looking back at that experience, I realize that the mountain was so intimidating because I was looking at the mountain. By taking on the mountain 15 minutes at a time I no longer stood afraid in its massive shadow, instead I slowly conquered it.

I am reminded that on days like yesterday when it all feels insurmountable, to perhaps take on this COVID-19 mountain the same way…15 minutes at a time. Because we WILL reach the ocean, I am sure of it! Today is a new day. What will my next 15 minutes bring – surrender and be.



It’s a tough time to fundraise, but patients with lung cancer are at high-risk if coronavirus enters their system. It remains vitally important to save, extend, and improve the lives of those with lung cancer. I earnestly ask that you contribute to my 60 for Sixty campaign and help make a difference for the lung cancer community. 

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