Timmerman Traverse for Sickle Forward


Invitation to the Timmerman Traverse for Sickle Forward 2024

Please join me for the adventure of a lifetime.

Luke Timmerman, founder/editor of the Timmerman Report, in collaboration with Dr. Ted Love, former President and CEO of Global Blood Therapeutics and BIO Board Chairman, and Dr. Alan Anderson, Lifespan Hematologist and Global Sickle Cell Disease Clinician, would like to invite you to join the September 2024 Timmerman Traverse for Sickle Forward.

This year’s expedition is the trip of a lifetime – a hike to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,340 ft / 5,895 m).

You will train your body for the physical and mental rigors of high altitude.

You will think creatively and activate your networks to raise at least $50,000vfor sickle cell disease diagnosis and treatment in sub-Saharan Africa.

Accept this challenge and you will become part of a 20-person team ofvbiotech executives and investors that raises at least $1 million for sickle cell disease in Africa.

In addition, direct matching of the funds raised will double the impact of this event and will allow for additional funds to be directed towards SCD research and treatment in the US.

This campaign has the potential to save hundreds of thousands of lives.

Why Focus on Sickle Cell Disease in Africa?

Sickle Cell Disease is the most common inherited disorder of the red blood cell, affecting over 6 million individuals across the world. SCD is a chronic, painful, debilitating illness that disproportionally affects those individuals with genetics from malaria endemic parts of the world. Its highest rate of
prevalence is in sub-Saharan Africa.

While recent advancements in research and treatment in the US and Europe have been promising, SCD continues to be a “forgotten” illness for patients living in the global regions where resources are limited.

The numbers:

  • Over 5 million individuals are affected by Sickle Cell Disease across Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Three out of every four cases of sickle cell disease worldwide are in Africa.
  • An estimated 300,000 children are born with sickle cell disease in Sub-Saharan Africa each year.
  • 50-80% of children born with SCD in Africa will die before the age of 5 because they go undiagnosed and lack access to basic treatment.

Why Sickle Forward?

Sickle Forward understands the importance of bringing rapid screening for Sickle Cell Disease to resource-limited settings in Sub-Saharan Africa. They envision a day when all newborns will have access to diagnosis and treatment of SCD, no matter where they are born.

A child diagnosed with Sickle Cell Disease through systematic newborn screening programs supported by Sickle Forward can then be started on low-cost and highly effective treatments that are known to drastically improve survival.

Newborn screening tests cost about $1 apiece. Our funds raised through this Timmerman Traverse for Sickle Forward campaign will be used to buy hundreds of thousands of these tests, so they can be distributed to clinics that do newborn screening.

We aren’t doing this work alone. Sickle Forward believes that sustainability is the key to success. To that end, they work directly with clinical and scientific leaders connected with dedicated SCD programs in each of their partner countries in sub-Saharan Africa and seek input and support from incountry health ministry officials from the beginning.

Sickle Forward has a proven track record. It has a long-standing partnership with the National SCD Research and Treatment Center (CRLD) in Bamako, Mali and has funded systematic screening of over 20,000 newborns in rural Mali since 2011. In addition, Sickle Forward supports ongoing access to life-saving treatment with antibiotic prophylaxis, malaria prevention, basic immunizations, and access to hydroxyurea for all children diagnosed with SCD through their programs.

Sickle Forward recently initiated a large-scale Sickle Cell Disease newborn screening program for infants born at multiple hospital sites (urban and rural) throughout Mali and Togo. This project, launched in October 2023, partners with physician leaders in both countries to screen over 100,000 infants and serves as the largest rapid screening initiative ever attempted in the region.

Funds raised through the Timmerman Traverse for Sickle Forward will go directly towards their goal of expanding newborn screening and treatment for Sickle Cell Disease into new countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa.

Together we can strive to make diagnosis and basic treatment of Sickle Cell Disease available to all children.


The expedition runs from Sept. 8-19, 2024. 

What Happens on the Trip?

By joining this expedition, you will:

  • Raise $1 million for sickle cell disease diagnosis and treatment in
  • Raise an additional $1 million through direct matching of the funds
    for Sickle Cell Disease research and treatment in the US
  • Raise awareness to improve Sickle Cell Disease treatment globally
  • Build meaningful relationships with biotech leaders
  • Have fun

This trip is modeled on several prior expeditions Luke has led on Kilimanjaro, in 2024 (February), 2023 and 2019.

The summit of Kilimanjaro. February 2024.

Who are the team leaders?

Luke Timmerman is the founder of Timmerman Report, a leading biotech industry newsletter. Luke was named one of the 100 most influential people in biotech in 2015 by Scientific American. Luke has climbed 6 of the 7 Summits, including Mt. Everest. His mountaineering campaigns have mobilized the biotech community to give more than $9 million to fight cancer and poverty since 2017.

Dr. Ted Love is the chair of the Board of Directors at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO). Dr. Love most recently served as president and chief executive officer of Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT) from June 2014 until October 2023, when the company was acquired by Pfizer. During his tenure at GBT, Dr. Love led the company from a pre-clinical startup, through the accelerated approval and launch of Oxbryta®, and into a global commercial company with an advanced pipeline of innovative therapies focused on sickle cell disease.

Dr. Alan Anderson started Sickle Forward in 2011 with the goal of partnering with clinical programs in resource-limited settings to increase their ability to diagnosis and treat individuals with SCD. As the medical director of a Comprehensive SCD Program in South Carolina, Dr. Anderson understands the needs of this chronic illness population and the importance of using the community voice to drive change.

Confirmed Hikers

  • Luke Timmerman, founder and editor, Timmerman Report
  • Ted Love, chairman of the board, BIO
  • Alan Anderson, physician-scientist, University of South Carolina; executive director, Sickle Forward
  • Patrick Hines, founder and CEO, Functional Fluidics
  • Terry-Ann “TA” Burrell, chief financial officer, Beam Therapeutics
  • Asha Collins, senior vice president, general manager, Biobanks Data Analysis Platform, DNAnexus
  • Alexander Gruzdev, vice president of sales and marketing, Silver Lake Research Company
  • Elena Gruzdev, representative, Silver Lake Research Company
  • Alex Harding, head of business development, CRISPR Therapeutics
  • Sam Blackman, founder, head of R&D, Day One Biopharmaceuticals
  • Davy Chiodin, chief development officer, Day One Biopharmaceuticals
  • Matt Donne, director of business operations, Renasant Bio
  • Jimi Olaghere, founder, VP of commerce, Resurgence (one of the first people cured of sickle cell disease with CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing)
  • Maurice Garland, head of sales, Ferring Pharmaceuticals
  • Stephen Scully, co-founder, interim chief technology officer, Liberate Bio
  • Ilyas Said, patient advocate and board member, Sickle Cell Disease Patient Community of Tanzania
  • Alain Romero, consultant, independent
  • Jingyi Liu, clinical fellow, Brigham & Women’s Hospital
  • John Mennel, managing director, Monitor Deloitte
  • Doug McConnell, co-founder and CEO, Safi Biotherapeutics
  • Sarah Alspach, senior vice president, external affairs, bluebird bio
  • Eva Gallagher, vice president of medical affairs, Agios Pharmaceuticals
  • Audra Boscoe, vice president of health economics, outcomes research, Agios Pharmaceuticals
  • Kobina Dufu, head of cell and translational biology, Pfizer (formerly Global Blood Therapeutics)
  • Deborah Arrindell, former VP, pharmacovigilance, Global Blood Therapeutics

Why Kilimanjaro? It’s a “bucket list” adventure.

No mountain climbing experience is necessary. You can hike all the way to the summit without any technical gear like ropes, harnesses, crampons or ice axes.

It requires just 7 days on the mountain – only 12 days when considering international door-to-door travel.

The Tanzanian people are wonderful, gracious hosts.

Everyone should travel to Africa and experience the joy, optimism, and yes, hardships.

What Do I Have to Do? Each hiker is *required* to raise a minimum of $50,000 for Sickle Forward. Luke will do everything he can to support and advise each team member on fundraising. But part of his role as team leader is to maintain accountability. Failure to raise the required funds may result in being dismissed from the team. Raising $50,000 isn’t an optional “nice thing to do.” It’s required.

The fundraising can come from a variety of sources — corporate sponsors, friends and family, business colleagues, or your own bank account.

Team Goal? With 20 people each raising $50,000, that adds up to $1 million. But people tend to exceed their goals, especially when they target large corporate sponsors in $10k, $25k, and $50k increments. The 2023 Kilimanjaro team raised $1.2 million. The February 2024 Kilimanjaro team surpassed its goal with $1,172,000.

One exciting aspect of the September 2024 Timmerman Traverse for Sickle Forward is that all funds raised will be matched in full.

This means that your fundraising will have double the impact.

$1 million will go to the work of Sickle Forward in Africa while an additional $1 million will support Sickle Cell Disease research and treatment in the US.


Sunday 08 September 2024 Fly From USA

Monday 09 September Arrive Tanzania. Mandatory arrival day

Tuesday 10 September Team Orientation, prep, gear checks

Wednesday 11 September Machame Camp

Thursday 12 September Shira Camp

Friday 13 September Baranco camp

Saturday 14 September Karanga camp

Sunday 15 September Kosovo high camp

Monday 16 September Summit/Millenium camp

Tuesday 17 September Arusha

Wednesday 18 September Fly home/Optional Safari Day1

Thursday 19 September Arrive Home/Safari Day 2

Friday 20 September Safari Day 3

Saturday 21 September Safari Day 4 / Fly home evening

Sunday 22 September Arrive home/ Alternate flight

Where do we stay? When we’re not on Kilimanjaro, we’ll stay at the Four Points by Sheraton Arusha / aka The Arusha Hotel. It’s comfortable, beautiful, and has good WiFi. AAI will take care of our reservations, as thishas been their go-to hotel in Arusha for many years. See Marriott.com for a description.

Networking: If you join this team, you will make meaningful relationships. You will become part of a powerful network of 120 people who have joined Timmerman Traverse expeditions over the past five years. Companies have been founded. Board members have been recruited. A national biotech internship program to recruit and mentor 1,000 undergraduates from underprivileged backgrounds has been launched.

All of these things have been catalyzed by people making connections on these trips.

You could be a part of this.

Diversity: We place value on diversity in every respect – age, race, gender, ethnicity, geography, and different types of industry expertise. Our vision is to create a dynamic, fun, interesting group of people to spend time with on the mountain. We welcome your recruiting efforts to help create this positive and supportive group.

Who’s Guiding on the Mountain? Eric Murphy of Alpine Ascents International. Eric was one of the guides on my successful Mt. Everest summit climb in 2018. He is the most experienced Western guide on Kilimanjaro, with 140+ summits. He and I have worked together since 2019 on four biotech team expeditions.

You will not find a better guide. He has unmatched knowledge of the mountain.

Eric Murphy of Alpine Ascents International (left) with me on Kilimanjaro. 

Beyond Eric, we will be supported by a crew of local porters, cooks, and guides with many years of experience in Tanzania working in partnership with Alpine Ascents International. Eric and the Tanzanian crew have an excellent rapport, based on years of working together.

Work: This is a challenging commitment. Raising $50,000 for Sickle Cell Disease diagnosis and treatment in Africa isn’t easy. Neither is hiking uphill in the wind at 19,000 feet. But you can do this – both the fundraising and the high-altitude trekking!

As a three-time summiteer of Kilimanjaro, Luke is here to help you succeed. Same with Sickle Forward and Alpine Ascents International.

Support: Carri Stoker-Postier (carri@sickleforward.com) will be the project lead from Sickle Forward and will be available to assist you with the fundraising process. She will manage the expedition website, help you create a participant page, and will be the point of contact for questions regarding donations.

Questions? luke@timmermanreport.com

I hope you can join us for this once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Can we count you IN?

Luke, Alan & Ted



What hikers are saying:

What Hikers Are Saying:

“What was completely unexpected on our Kilimanjaro trip was the level of camaraderie that immediately formed in the group – likeminded, interesting and interested, generous and unquitting.” – Nina Kjellson, general partner, Canaan Partners (Kili 2019)

“Simply the best chance ever to get to know a high-quality group of biotech executives well. And so much more.” — Bob More, partner, Alta Partners (Kili 2019)

“The trip was life-changing on many levels, personally and professionally.” – Leslie Williams, co-founder and CEO, hC Bioscience (Everest Base Camp trekker, 2022)