23-year-old to hike Pacific Crest Trail to support Alpha-1 research and awareness

The Alpha-1 Foundation (A1F) is proud to announce that, four years after his first quest to raise funds and awareness for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1), 23-year old Jonathan “Money Maker” Maidment is set to start his new challenge: hiking the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT), a 2,600 mile long journey that will take several months to complete, from Southern California all the way through the border between Washington state and Canada.

The Alpha-1 Foundation applauds and supports this initiative.

Determined and driven are the first two adjectives that come to mind when getting a grasp of the endeavor that Jonathan has assumed. His determination has turned every obstacle into a triumph. He is a man on a mission with a clear understanding of the challenges that lie ahead. Jonathan arrives in San Diego on March 31st and starts hiking on April 1st, 2018.

“For the PCT, my biggest challenge is the mental obstacle that I will have to face, because you are out there for five or five and a half months without any family or friends, and you have time to overthink, that might not be the best thing in the world,” says Jonathan.

The PCT is a long-distance hiking trail aligned with the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade Range. In elevation, it varies from just above sea level at the Oregon-Washington border to more than 13,000 feet at Forester Pass, in the Sierra Nevada. The route passes through 25 national forests and 7 national parks, bordering Mexico in its southern end, and Canada in its northern end.

“When I hiked the Appalachian Trail (AT), in 2014, I found out that much of the challenge of the trail was not the physical aspect because after one month or two anyone can walk a couple of miles a day but is the actual task of having to do it day after day, week after week, month after month. It is the mental aspect where the challenge is,” explains Jonathan.

“I have been very busy making sure I am prepared. Besides all the food and water, I will have some clothes, I will have a tent, a sleeping bag, some camping shoes, the Alpha-1 flag that I brought on the AT, a jacket, a hat, some gloves, sunscreen, bug spray, maybe some sunglasses; things that help me survive,” he adds.

Jonathan received the trail name “Money Maker” from his fellow hikers because of his goal to raise funds for the A1F. He raised more than $56,000 hiking the AT in 2014 – a figure that surpassed his original goal of $10,000 – and this time, his goal is to raise $50,000.

Proceeds from the fundraising activities relating to Jonathan will be dedicated to research and programs of the A1F. You can learn more here.

Even though Jonathan gives an 80% value to the mental aspect of preparing for this kind of endeavor, there is also a heavy 20% that must be attended to the physical aspect. This time around, Jonathan will make certain that he takes good care of his feet – he had to stop for two weeks in the AT to let his injured feet heal.

His maternal grandmother, Alyce McArdle, passed away several years ago from Alpha-1 related lung disease, and hiking the AT in 2014 was, in fact, a tribute to her: it was Jonathan’s way to honor and praise the memory of his grandma. This time, Jonathan dedicates his hike to the leader and co-founder of the A1F, a visionary man who dedicated his life’s work to finding a cure for Alpha-1 and improving the lives of Alphas worldwide: John W. Walsh.

“One big motivation that I have is John Walsh. He was such a pioneer for the Alpha-1 universe and I feel like I owe him something because of everything that he did for us. I feel like I should do something for him just to pay him back a little,” expressed Jonathan.

Friends, fans, and supporters will have the opportunity to meet Jonathan in the summer, in the 27th Annual Alpha-1 National Education Conference, in San Francisco, CA.

Also, Jonathan asks for his supporters to leave him an encouraging note that he can read on the trail on his Hiking 4 a Cure Facebook Page.

Back in 2014, Jonathan hiked the entire AT, from Springer Mountain, GA, to Mount Katahdin, ME, a 2,200-mile-long journey that took him six months and nine pairs of boots to complete. His motivation was – and remains – finding a cure for Alpha-1 through raising funds for research and other related programs. Jonathan himself is an Alpha, diagnosed at age 10, and so is his father, Dave. His mother, Karen, is a carrier.

Jonathan is committed to this journey. His passion for his family and the Alpha–1 Community is his driving force. His goal: to support the mission of the A1F of finding a cure for Alpha

Categories: Good Morning San Diego