OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — "I am no means a professional athlete. I don't run marathons. I don't run half-marathons."
Dillon Doeden is a self-described non-athlete, which makes an already special endeavor even more remarkable. Next month, he'll leave Nebraska for South Asia to climb Mount Everest. Dillon and three others will ascend to the upper base camp at more than 18,000 feet as part of Jar of Hope. The organization raises money for Duchenne research, a form of muscular dystrophy that's extremely rare and fatal.
Dillon and Jessica Doeden's son, 4-year-old Connor, was diagnosed with Duchenne last year.
"He was having some trouble with like typical milestones, things you look for in every little kid. When they roll over. When they sit up. When they walk for the first time," Dillon recalled.
"I kept asking over and over... What do we do? What are we gonna do? Some sort of medication or special diet or treatment... something. And the only answer we really got was, 'go home and love your son.'"
Determined, the couple researched and found a new clinical trial in Florida. They believe studying Connor's case could be invaluable since he was diagnosed earlier in life than most. Jar of Hope aims to raise $150,000 prior to leaving for Mount Everest, which would go toward the $750,000 needed to start the trial. A film about their experience will also support fundraising.
Jessica says the family prioritizes being present.
"It's hard, but I'm kind of a live-in-the-moment kind of person. We're not going to focus too much on the future. We're going to focus on the here and now."
To learn more about Jar of Hope and to donate, visit www.jarofhope.org/ .