Courtney and her two children

In 2009, my father, Rick Cullinan, climbed Kilimanjaro. He was in remission from esophageal cancer that would later take his life. "Living the Dream" became his famous quote when caught on video when he was interviewed. He celebrated the joy and beauty of this amazing experience as only someone who knows definitely that there are so many days offered on this earth.

Now ten years later I will commemorate his life and passion in March, 2019 on my own journey to Tanzania to scale Mount Kilimanjaro. My 8-day trek will take me through every ecological zone on the planet, just as my father did, to the top of Africa's highest peak.

When my dad died I felt empty. My outlook on life was changed. Time doesn't slow down, life doesn't play favorites. I thought about how short 25 years was. If I have learned anything from my father's life it's that he never gave up. He put others' needs before his own.  To value each breath we take. To value the relationships of those we love. A father is someone who guides his daughter through life, and now even in death he is guiding me. He is constantly showing me that love never dies.

Rick Cullinan with his grandson, 4 days before his death from esophageal cancer

I would like to express my gratitude to Rick French and Yusuf for helping make my dream of this trip become reality. I would also like to thank my family and friends for their love and support on my journey. To my JOI family who has encouraged and guided me from day one, helping me prepare for my climb. Also to the Wilmot Cancer Center and doctors for the treatment and hope you gave my father.

Over one million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year, and it's estimated that there were over 600,000 deaths in 2017. Cancer has touched every one of us in some way. This trip is not just about my own healing and a way to have a sense of closure. It's about giving back too. I have chosen to raise money for the fight against cancer and donate it the Wilmot Cancer Center, but I need you. Your tax deductible donations to the Wilmot Cancer Center will ensure that cancer research, education, and other services will continue. To contribute, visit Giving to Wilmot Cancer Center and make a donation in memory of Rick Cullinan. Thank you for helping to keep my father's memory alive!

For more information on the trip, contact Courtney at 585-447-3449, Michael Fahy at the Wilmot Cancer Center at 585-276-5176, or Rick French at Pack, Paddle, & Ski at 585-346-5597 (

To make a contribution to help defray Courtney's trip costs:

Donations are not tax deductible.

You may also make checks payable to Pack Paddle Ski.
Be sure to indicate "Courtney Cullinan Scholarship" in the memo line!

Mailing address:
Pack Paddle Ski
6237 South Lima Road
Livonia, NY 14487-9787

Amid her new JOI friends