“Permanence, Perseverance & Persistence in spite of all obstacles, discouragements and impossibility; it is this, that in all things distinguishes the strong soul from the weak.”
I am not a millionaire and I am not a super athlete, but I do believe that I was blessed with an indomitable spirit, faith and not afraid to feel high discomfort.
My dad was removed from our home when I was 10 years old leaving my Mom and her 4 daughters alone. My Mom did her absolute best to put food on the table, buy us clothes to wear and a roof over our heads, but I always struggled to stand out and fit in amongst my sisters and family.
I left home when I was 15 years old because I felt as I was drowning from the memories of my father and I also thought no one would care. I remember being so scared of being another statistic.
I was living in a small rented room in someone’s home, working after school at a sneaker store and eating Frosted Flakes for breakfast, lunch & dinner.
However, the fear, the challenge, my dreams and faith kept me strong, safe and on the right path. I graduated High School with honors and ran my first Marathon at the age of 16 and although those seemed to be wonderful accomplishments, the happiness only lasted a very short while. I felt like there was so much more to do.
After completing my first Marathon, I vowed to do at least one every year because it helps me remember my struggles & everything I had to go through to run my first. I have completed 27 thus far including 2 Boston Marathons.
Along with running, I was also a Martial Artist and trained on the weekends and sometimes before school and after work. In 1995, I won the Kyokushin Karate full contact World Championship in the Female Light weight division. Again, it seemed like the happiness only lasted a day…
Soon after Karate, in search of my next challenge, I turned to boxing. In 1997, I became the first female ever to be voted and win “Athlete of the Year,” by the USA Olympic Boxing Committee after winning the 1st USA Women’s Boxing Nationals and I also won the 1998 & 1999 NYC Golden Gloves. As a professional boxer, I won my first title in 2013 when I captured the NYS Title.
Boxing did challenge me in every way-physically, mentally & spiritually. However, I went through many wrongful incidents and came face to face with greed, deception and saw the absolute worst in humans.
Despite experiencing the horrible side of Boxing, none of the events killed my spirit. Even the ugly stuff has a good reason for happening. Life sometimes is about getting knocked down and getting back up as many times as it takes.
After suffering a dangerous eye & elbow injury that forced me to take some time off from boxing, I turned to Mountain Climbing.
In 2016, I signed up for my very first Mountain Expedition in Ecuador after successfully summiting Mount Superior in Utah, 11,080ft a few months earlier; that was my intro to mountaineering and I knew it was my calling.
Walking on the exposed ridge of Mount Superior at over 10,000 ft although nerve wracking for many, it brought a real sense of peace and vulnerability and humility. I did not have to “fight” to belong, I just did.
“Believe you can and you’re half way there.”
In 2016, I summited 4 out of 5 mountains in Ecuador. The Mountains taught me that I am at their mercy and I cannot impose my will on them. One of my biggest struggles is patience. I would return 3 times before my 1st successful summit of Chimborazo in August 2017 & 2nd summit on July 2018.
On my birthday on December 12, 2016, I made a goal to climb the “7 Summits” not truly realizing the enormity of something like this.
I have always aimed high and have never done anything half fast. Most of my accomplishments up until this point were things I was not “suppose” to do.
In 2017, I successfully summitted Mount Kiliminjaro, 19,341ft, the highest peak in Africa in 2.5 days (February 26, 2017) and Mount Aconcagua, 22,841ft, the highest peak in South America and in the Southern & Western Hemisphere (December 29, 2017) becoming the 1st Latina from Queens, New York to do so!
During my Expedition in Argentina in December 2017, I over heard some of my team members saying “ lets do our best, if we can’t summit, there is always next year” and I remember thinking to myself, “there is no next time for me, its now or never, all or nothing.”
“Choose to win each day, defy the odds, embrace challenges & never let adversity steal your dreams.”
I fell in love with the Mountains because they are pure and they have challenged me more than I can ever have imagined.
You cannot cheat on the Mountains. They don’t play favorites. I am humbled to tears at every single summit. They bring out the best in me and it is the closest I come to touching the sky and feeling close to God.
When I am Climbing, everything makes sense and through the challenges & struggles of the high altitudes, adverse conditions and dangers of the mountains, I am fulfilled and rewarded with their beauty.
My next Mountain is Denali this May. For sponsorship, please contact: Patriciad12@msn.com