Joy, Gratitude and Next Steps for Timmerman Traverse

Luke Timmerman, founder & editor, Timmerman Report

Reporting this morning from Tanzania.

I’m feeling joyful and grateful.

My latest biotech team wrapped up another $1 million Timmerman Traverse fundraising campaign for the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation. All 20 members of the team reached the summit of Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa at 19,341 feet.

We raised awareness of Damon Runyon’s national network of brilliant, brave and bold young scientists. We raised significant funds to support them. We forged meaningful friendships on the trail.

We cried. We laughed. We sang. We danced. We hugged. We marveled at the night stars. We were in awe of the strength and hospitality of our Tanzanian hosts.

Some people faced challenges on the trail like never before. Many had to dig deep. 

These mountaineering programs have now catalyzed the biotech community to give back $8.9 million since 2017. More than 120 people have accepted the challenge and participated in these experiences around the world. About 10,000 people have given at least once to one of these campaigns. Many people are giving over and over. 

The Timmerman Traverse campaigns are tapping into something deep and meaningful.

The desire to give back to those who are less fortunate.

The desire for physical challenges.

The desire to experience natural beauty.

The desire to form strong, lasting friendships.

Ultimately, it’s about being part of something much bigger than one’s self.

I’m feeling the fire in the belly. I’m hungry to make an even bigger impact. This campaign with Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation is the start of a big year. 

This year, I’m challenging myself to step up to a new level, leading not just one, but *two* more biotech community expeditions for worthy causes.

The first is the Timmerman Traverse for Life Science Cares. That team is fully recruited and preparing for a magnificent pair of day hikes in the Pacific Northwest in August.

This team will raise $1 million to fight poverty in the United States. This program is now entering its fourth year and has already raised more than $3 million to fight poverty in the US since 2021. I’m proud of the impact this program has had, and the ripple effect it is having.

This program has already given birth to an initiative that’s creating 1,000 biotech industry internships for young people from underrepresented minority groups around the US. And we’re still in the early days. Watch for an announcement of the Timmerman Traverse for Life Science Cares 2024 team in March.

The second expedition is the Timmerman Traverse for Sickle Forward. This team will go back to Kilimanjaro in September, in conjunction with National Sickle Cell Awareness Month.

This will be another $1 million campaign to raise funds to expand newborn screening of sickle cell disease in Africa. Newborn screening can prompt the kinds of early interventions that save lives. We’re talking about catching sickle cell early, so infants can go on prophylactic antibiotics, anti-malarial medications, or have access to cheap, generic hydroxyurea. These are practical interventions in low-resource settings.

We also have a partner willing to make a $1-for-$1 match to amplify sickle cell research in the United States. That means this campaign has the potential to raise $2 million to fight sickle cell disease and uplift people around the world with this long-neglected malady.

I’m not doing this alone. As the old African proverb says, if you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go with a group.

This campaign for Sickle Forward is being led by three co-chairs.

  • Luke Timmerman, founder and editor, Timmerman Report; 3-time summiteer of Kilimanjaro and climber of 6 of the 7 summits.

    Ted Love, chairman, BIO

  • Ted Love, chairman of the board, BIO; former CEO of Global Blood Therapeutics, developer of novel treatments for sickle cell disease.
  • Alan Anderson, physician-scientist, medical director of the Comprehensive Lifespan Sickle Cell Disease Program, PRISMA Health in Greenville, South Carolina; Executive Director, Sickle Forward

All three of us will climb Kilimanjaro with the full team in September.

It’s important to add that Eric Murphy will be with us. Eric, the lead guide for Alpine Ascents International on Kilimanjaro, has worked with me on all three campaigns on Kilimanjaro since 2019, plus another trek to Everest Base Camp.

His unparalleled knowledge of the mountains, clear communication, patience, and trusting partnership with local guides and crew are what make these large-scale expeditions possible. He’s a great friend. 

Alan Anderson, physician-scientist; founder, Sickle Forward

My task now is to recruit a few fellow sickle cell disease warriors from the biotech community.

If you — or your company — is willing to step up and make a major contribution to help children in Africa live longer and healthier lives, please see me or Ted or Alan.

I can provide you with an invitation with all the details to get started.

Let’s show the world we can come together and take action against poverty and health disparities.


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Meet the Timmerman Traverse for Life Science Cares 2024 Team
Timmerman Traverse for Damon Runyon, Kilimanjaro 2024 Photo Gallery
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