Courtesy of Ann Melim
Imagine being thousands of feet up on Mt. Washington — it’s mid-winter and the wind is blowing at 60 mph. You’re carrying a pack full of gear and climbing equipment. On your last leg of the climb, an ice cliff poses as an obstacle. This is the scene Ann Melim will face in frigid January, her 10th anniversary climb up the mountain.
Melim, English teacher at HB, is a hiking enthusiast. She has climbed many mountains, including Mt. Kilimanjaro, but none as dangerous as Mt. Washington. Located in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, this mountain holds the record for the fastest wind gust on the face of the earth for 62 years, an impressive and dangerous 231 mph. “This is the hardest of all [of the mountains] that I hike. Being in the winter, the this climb requires the most skill”.
Hiking is something Melim enjoys doing, however, the climb to the summit isn’t her only goal; it’s about helping others in the community. “I’m doing this hike to raise money for Niko Martin, who has cancer.” Martin is a sophomore at HB suffering from a rare form of Leukemia. Melim had a chance to meet both Martin, describing him as a “courageous person” (as she postedon the Hollis Brookline Community Facebook Page). Melim hopes her trek to the top will inspire others to assist Martin and his family in paying expensive medical treatments. Melim created a GoFundMe account to support the family in their time of need. “If it was my daughter who was sick, I would want someone to help her out,” she said.
Melim has been preparing for her upcoming hike for months, doing endurance and strength training at the gym. Though she has prepared extensively for the trip, Melim still has some concerns about her expedition. “I’m most worried about a vertical ice sheet I have to climb, because I don’t trust my climbing equipment,” Melim said “Fear is a major thing I go through, but it’s never beaten me.”
Melim doesn’t want to stop with Martin. She plans to continue using her hobby to help others in need. “You have to look outside your life to look at what other people are going through, be kind to other people, care for them and help them out,”she said. Melim plans to fundraise for others needing help on her future hikes.
Anyone interested in helping Martin and his family should head to his mother Rockella Martin’s Facebook page or one of his gofundme accounts so, “[His family] can concentrate less on the financials and more on getting Martin healthy and back to school with all his friends and teachers who adore him so.”