Hiking the Cascades was something I never really planned to do. At the beginning, it was just a random idea we thought about. Somehow, it ended up turning viral. We never anticipated that.
To be completely honest, the whole event was kind of bittersweet and almost never happened. My girlfriend was laying idle, recovering from an injury in rehab on the day of the hike.
An accident, a week prior, nearly prompted me to just cancel the Facebook event I had created just hours before hearing she was in the hospital. I didn’t want to hike. I wanted to be with her.
I’ll never forget when we talked on the phone last week, and I told her “I think I’ll come visit you this weekend. The Cascades will always be there; I can see them some other time. I want to see you now.”
And she said, “Justin, what if tomorrow never comes? Go do that hike.” That was all the inspiration I needed. She’s the same person that used a wheelchair in her spare time just to understand my perspective. I knew that, if she could, she’d be right there alongside our friends, helping to carry me.
The rest is history. Now I have a fantastic video to show anyone of a really bittersweet, yet special moment of my life. More importantly, I have something that shows the world, the Hokie Nation and beyond the power of Ut Prosim, caring for others, and friendship. And for them — my friends — I am most thankful.
Last week, my friends took what is a pretty typical experience for some and turned it into something inspirational. To be completely honest, I didn’t understand why everyone was so impressed with the video — it was just me being carried by some awesome people, some old friends, some new friends, and some in between. I didn’t think I had done anything too special, and to be honest I still don’t think so. Sure, I was excited to see the Cascades and was honored that my friends would do this for me, but I never thought it would have thousands of views on the internet.
So when the news crews started calling me this week, I’m sure they were a little disappointed that I was not in Blacksburg, but instead, five hours away by my partner's side as she recovers.
I wouldn’t have been anywhere else. After all, I get by with a little help from my friends. It’s only fair to return the favor. I encourage you to find a unique way to care for someone else. People can be most moved by caring when they least expect it — I was.