'Take challenges, even if they're uncomfortable'

'Take challenges, even if they're uncomfortable'
MOUNT RAINIER -- It’s a beautiful day up on Mt Rainier. The sun is shining, the wildflowers blooming, and hikers thirsty for a summit set off trekking.

But this is not your average assembly of climbers.

Wayne Johnson got a new kidney three years ago. Chris Klug got a new liver in 2000. And George Kuhar got his new kidney last year, from his life partner, Bridget Cross.

"A blessing, you know," Kuhar said.

They're the lucky ones. About 5,000 waiting for a transplant die because there aren't enough organ donors.

"If you have someone in your life who needs a kidney and you're healthy and you are connected to them or someone else who loves them, and you can enrich their life then I would say yes, do it," Cross said.

That is why Swedish Hospital’s Dr. Andrew Precht spent the past couple of years working to arrange this Mt. Rainier climb. He and the others want to raise awareness and prove that a transplant will not stop you from reaching a summit.

Cross admitted she never thought of organ donation, until Kuhar needed a kidney.

"I was just blaming myself, 'Gosh, why I am I so out of shape?' And the reality was I only had a pint of blood left in me," Kuhar said.

But today, with a new kidney, Kuhar feels great.

Kuhar, Klug and Cross each overcame one life or death situation already, and now they're learning to overcome another. Should any of then fall on the mountain, they need to know how to self arrest.

"You gotta take challenges and take challenges, even if they're uncomfortable," Cross said. "It's a healthy thing to do."

"The energy just moves you and you pass it along," Kuhar added. "And you have the ability to leave an impression on that energy, you know, so since you use so much energy you can leave a positive impression on it and put that positive energy out there."

With the skills in hand, they'll go for the summit Saturday morning.

The trio of climbers wants others to see more people signed up as donors. To become an organ donor, discuss it with your family and have it added to your driver's license.

For more information:

Organ Donor Information