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In the Spotlight

Xtreme Hike: Massachusetts/Rhode Island Chapter

In the Spotlight Xtreme Hike Bill and Son

Bill Brodnitzki Jr. and his father Bill (right), pictured atop the Grand Teton in Wyoming, enjoy hiking together and have channeled their love for hiking to the fight against CF.

Bill Brodnitzki Sr. and his son Bill Brodnitzki Jr. fondly remember going on outdoor family adventures decades ago. Bill Jr. and his three siblings would follow their dad on long treks through the mountains, often logging 10 miles a day before settling into their campsite. 

“Hiking really gave us the opportunity to get outdoors and enjoy nature together as a family,” says Bill Sr.

The father-son duo has since channeled their love for hiking into support for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, blazing the trail toward a cure.

Launching the Inaugural Xtreme Hike Mt. Greylock

Inspired by fellow hiking friends and CF Foundation volunteers John Barlow and Amos Beason of N.C., who launched the Carolinas Chapter – Charlotte Office’s very successful Xtreme Hike Charlotte event, Bill Jr. and Bill Sr. led the charge to begin an Xtreme Hike on Mount Greylock — the highest peak in Massachusetts, located in the Berkshire Hills in the western part of the state.

The Brodnitzkis worked closely with key staff at the Massachusetts/Rhode Island Chapter, and were impressed by the organizational skills of the chapter. “They are tremendous planners who really know how to put an event together,” says Bill Sr.

As trailblazer, Bill Sr. volunteered his time to map out the course on Mt. Greylock and developed detailed cue sheets and signage to help hikers navigate the trail.

“Mount Greylock is a huge reservation and offers an enormous challenge with its intersecting trails,” says Bill Sr. “We had our work cut out for us to prevent people from getting lost.”

In the months leading up to the event, Bill Jr. organized training hikes for participants, gearing them up for the 22 mile expedition. “There is a physical element to Xtreme Hike, but there’s also a strong mental element,” says Bill Jr. “If you train a little and have the right mindset, most people can finish — and the folks with a personal connection to CF are even more motivated to get through it.”

A Challenging Trek to Support the Fight Against CF

In the Spotlight Xtreme Hike Bill and Daughter

Bill Brodnitzki Sr. and his daughter Anne Beaudoin joined two dozen hikers at the inaugural Xtreme Hike Mt. Greylock, raising $90,000 in support of the CF Foundation.

On June 23, two dozen hikers, armed with headlamps to light their way, began their journey at 4:30 a.m., ready to tackle the 12-hour trek over rugged terrain to raise funds for the CF Foundation. Late in the afternoon, just after the first five hikers crossed the finish line, a thunderstorm chased the remaining hikers off the trail to safety. After the storm passed, Bill Jr. and the remaining hikers were determined to finish the hike.

“During the hike, I met Jenica, whose daughter Ellie has CF, and I was inspired by her story and what Ellie goes through on a daily basis,” says Bill Jr. “When you compare the daily trials of a person with CF to a grueling hike, the hike is very minimal. It is one day versus a lifetime. In that moment, with soggy socks and sore feet, I was reminded of the importance of Xtreme Hike and everything we do to raise money for Ellie and all those with CF.”

When every last person made it to the end of the trail, the group celebrated at the Jiminy Peak Resort with spirited cheers, high-fives and cold beverages.

The inaugural event raised $90,000 toward the search for a cure for CF; and Bill Jr. and Sr. are already planning for a second Xtreme Hike in western Massachusetts.

“There is a great sense of accomplishment when you cross the finish line after 12 hours of hiking,” says Bill Jr. “Knowing that we were supporting the CF cause through the entire process makes it even greater.”

Posted 12/21/12

The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is an accredited charity of the Better Business Bureau.