The Duskin and Stephens Foundation and Tusker Trails join efforts for Kilimanjaro Climb for Valor, April 24 – May 5, 2016.

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Special Forces Combat Veterans, War Widow and NHL Player Mike Commodore Pledge to Climb 19,336 Foot Peak to Raise Funds for Families of Fallen Special Operations Soldiers.

Warrior Climber Jason

Those who join the climb will not only have a once in a lifetime adventure climbing Kilimanjaro, but will contribute to the healing process for our warriors and their families. - Ryan, Founder, Duskin & Stephens

For the second consecutive year, The Duskin and Stephens Foundation, in conjunction with Tusker Trails, will join efforts for the Kilimanjaro Climb for Valor; a fundraising climb that sends wounded Special Forces Combat Veterans, family members of Fallen Special Operations Soldiers and civilians up the 19,336 foot peak. This year’s climb includes two wounded Combat Veterans, the widow of a Fallen Special Operations Soldier and a retired NHL player. Eight civilian spots remain available for purchase.

Ryan, a founder of the Duskin and Stephens Foundation described how the climb came about, "Eddie Frank, the founder of Tusker Trails approached the Duskin and Stephens Foundation with this idea two years ago; we are proud to facilitate this event and grateful to Tusker Trails and those who join the climb for their support. The Kilimanjaro Climb for Valor is a healing event for wounded Special Operators and Gold Star family members. It unites caring citizens who love the military and understand the sacrifice of our families with individuals who have given so much in defense of our nation. Those who join this climb will not only have a memorable once in a lifetime adventure climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro; they will also contribute to the healing process of our warriors and their families."

The wounded Special Forces Combat Veterans, the team’s Warrior Climbers, are chosen from the Special Forces community for the perseverance and determination shown as they battle through extensive surgeries and rehabilitation programs. Each of these men made a profound sacrifice in service to their country.

Warrior Climber Jason is approaching his 14th year as an active duty service member, with the last five under the US Army Special Operations Command. Selection for this unit required focusing on mental and physical training through both traditional and alternative methods. In 2012, while serving in Afghanistan, Jason was shot and critically wounded in combat. Three of the bullets entered his right leg severing the sciatic nerve. After over 20 surgeries and years of extensive rehabilitation, he is still coping with these injuries and must wear a brace to walk.

“Perhaps, more limiting than my visible wounds was the anxiety that accompanied losing much of my physical ability and independence.” Jason said of his wounds. “In an effort to discontinue my reliance on pain medication, I turned primarily to massage and yoga while I recovered before introducing traditional physical training back into my regimen.” Jason now helps others suffering from, or trying to learn more about; stress, anxiety, PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) or chronic pain.

Warrior Climber Dave joined the Australian Army in 1992. After six years as a rifleman in the infantry he joined the Australian Special Forces. During his 18 years in the Special Forces community Dave has been deployed to numerous theaters including East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan.

In 2013, Dave was deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom when the helicopter that he was traveling in crashed. Sustaining head trauma and serious bilateral injuries, including breaking both legs, Dave was revived and treated by the U.S. members of his team before being medically evacuated.

Dave spent the next four months in a wheelchair where he started the long, slow road to rehabilitation. When the daily physiotherapy sessions started the first goal was to learn to walk again. After achieving this first goal he then started to learn how to conduct other basic moves such as walking up and down stairs.

Fourteen months after beginning physiotherapy, Dave's therapist decided he was at the point where rehab could intensify, becoming an eight hour a day effort. Conducting multiple sessions a day under the constant and close supervision of the team, Dave learned to run again. Once that goal was obtained, the next goal was to return to work. In order to do so, Dave still had to learn to move with weight (weapon and body armor). After eighteen months, hundred of hours of physiotherapy and with the right direction by the dedicated team of physiotherapists he returned to full active service.

Two years after his injury, Dave underwent surgery again, this time to remove the metal work from his legs. After only a short break he was back at full capacity and back to work.

In 2016, the Kilimanjaro Climb for Valor team welcomes former NHL defenseman, Mike Commodore.

A second-round selection by the New Jersey Devils in the 1999 NHL Entry Draft, Commodore played 13 seasons in the National Hockey League, winning a Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. A native of Ft. Saskatchewan Alberta, Commodore earned a NCAA Championship in 2000 with the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux and a Gold Medal with the 2007 Canadian team at the IIHF World Championships.

Known for his larger-than-life personality, “Commie” promises to be an engaging member of the Climb for Valor team. "I am doing the Climb for Valor to support and raise awareness for the Duskin and Stephens Foundation. I have always enjoyed living and working in the USA, and it's easy to take the luxuries that we all enjoy in this country for granted. People like Mike Duskin and Riley Stephens make these luxuries and liberties we enjoy possible. I have always been interested in the military and special forces in particular. I think it's amazing what Special Forces Operators put themselves through both physically and mentally and what they can, and have, accomplished. I was honored to be asked to participate in the Climb, and am very much looking forward to the challenge."

The goal of the 2016 Kilimanjaro Climb for Valor is to raise $50,000. The funds raised will go towards supporting the families of fallen members of Special Operations Forces and the educational needs of children of the community. The climbing costs of the Warrior Climbers will be covered by Tusker Trail. Each civilian and athlete climber on the trip pays their own way and pledges to raise $5,000 in donations. Those civilian climber goals are included in the team goal of $50,000. Donations can be made at GoFundMe.com/ClimbForValor2016.

There are eight spots remaining for civilian climbers. The climb costs for the 11-day excursion are $4,990, excluding airfare. To join this once-in-a-lifetime adventure, please visit DuskinandStephens.org/Kilimanjaro-climb.html or Tusker.com.

About Tusker Trail: Founded in 1977 by Eddie Frank, Tusker Trails has led thousands of climbers up Kilimanjaro, and has a summit rate of 98%. Tusker Trail is one of the oldest climbing companies and is regarded as the most professional team on Kilimanjaro. Eddie Frank leads the climb. This will be his 53rd Kilimanjaro climb. http://www.tusker.com

http://www.tusker.com/tusker-treks/kilimanjaro-climb/kili-details-pricing/routes/kilimanjaro-climb-for-valor.aspx

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