Courtesy of Ann Melim
Back in 2005, Hollis Brookline High School’s English teacher Ann Melim noticed a family in her community struggling to stay financially stable while dealing with their son’s medical needs. Her warm heart and passion for helping led her to raise a significant amount of money for the family, but not by just any normal fundraiser: by climbing.
After Melim’s first hike, which she thought was the last, she became more aware of all the need surrounding her in the communities. Now, Melim hikes Mount Washington every two years and climbs new mountains in the years between. Between all the hikes that have happened in the past ten years, a total of $18,000 has been raised for many different causes. Melim has raised money for Haiti relief, specific family situations, and for the past two years, for a purpose a little bit closer to home.
Ann Melim trecked up Mount Washington for her sixth time on Friday, March 6th, completing the frigid hike in a mere three and a half hours. Having raised $1,600 for the Cam Ricard Memorial Scholarship along with having a very strong personal connection with the purpose of the hike, Melim felt especially emotional when reaching the summit. Cameron Ricard was a previous student of Ann Melim’s at Hollis Brookline High School who passed away last winter from a car accident. “I went with my husband and our regular guide who has gone with us every year,” Melim explained, “but this year was especially tough and was most definitely the hardest climb yet.”
Each year, Melim believes that the purpose for why she climbs is not chosen specifically but instead, just simply “falls into her lap”. Her annual climb last year was up Mount Kilimanjaro for her cousin, Calvin. This year, Melim felt as if raising money for the Cam Ricard Memorial Scholarship was what she was meant to do. “I didn’t climb this year just for the money. I climbed to remember someone who had a zest for life.”
Melim plans on continuing her now annual hike for a cause and is already preparing both mentally and physically for next year.