On June 23, 12-year-old Tyler Armstrong reached the summit of Mt. Denali, becoming the sixth youngest person to do, and coming one step closer to his goal of completing the Seven Summits in his Climb to CureDuchenne effort. This is Armstrong’s fourth of the seven summits and he is planning to complete Mt. Kosciuszko later this summer, leaving only Mt. Everest and Mt. Vinson to finish all seven.
Armstrong climbs for those who can’t – the more than 300,000 boys around the world who battle Duchenne muscular dystrophy and hopes to raise a million dollars to help CureDuchenne find a cure for this fatal genetic disease.
“It was a tough mountain and I could not believe how much weight we had to carry. When I got tired, I just thought of the boys with Duchenne, and it pushed me harder. I’m proud to have climbed Denali for all of those with Duchenne because they face struggles everyday. I look forward to climbing even tougher mountains,” said Tyler Armstrong.
Joined by his father Kevin Armstrong, his long time guide Lhawang Dhondup, and the guides of Alaska Mountaineering School, Tyler trekked 18 days through the grueling Alaskan mountain range. While battling brutally cold weather, high winds and dangerous dropoffs, Tyler and his team advanced to Denali’s summit on June 23rd reaching an elevation of 20,310 feet, the highest mountain peak in North America.
“I was so happy to be able to summit on my first try because only 58 percent of people who climb Denali actually summit each year,” Armstrong said. “During the expedition, I got a chance meet some well known climbers. It was really special for me to be taken in and treated as part of the Denali climbing family.”
After his climb, Tyler Armstrong met with a family living in Alaska whose seven-year-old son struggles with Duchenne to offer his support and encouragement. Armstrong began climbing for boys with Duchenne several years ago with the goal of raising money to find a cure. Duchenne, which is found mainly in boys, is a fatal genetic disease that causes muscle degeneration, leaving boys progressively weaker. Most boys with Duchenne lose their ability to walk by their mid-teens and most do not live past their mid-20s. There is currently no cure for the deadly disease but pharmaceutical treatments are advancing.
“The intense physical and mental challenges that Tyler overcomes on every mountain he summits for CureDuchenne is so much like the hurdles and challenges each young boy with Duchenne faces every day,” said Debra Miller, CEO and founder of CureDuchenne. “The entire Duchenne community is so proud of Tyler, and we are humbled by his courage and desire to help our sons who battle this devastating disease.”
Tyler holds numerous climbing records, including being the youngest to summit to Mt. Aconcagua in Argentina and the second youngest to summit Mt. Kilimanjaro. Donations to help find a cure for Duchenne can be made at www.crowdrise.com/climbtocureduchenne.
CureDuchenne is a national nonprofit organization located in Newport Beach, Calif., dedicated to finding a cure for Duchenne, the most common and most lethal form of muscular dystrophy. As the leading genetic killer of young boys, Duchenne affects more than 300,000 boys worldwide. With the help of CureDuchenne’s distinguished panel of Scientific Advisors, funds raised by CureDuchenne support the most promising research aimed at treating and curing Duchenne. To date, nine CureDuchenne research projects have advanced into human clinical trials.
Barbara Caruso, 714/328-3273