Calgary Health Foundation

John Gorman - The Mountain Man

What does climbing a mountain like Kilimanjaro entail? It takes heart, endurance and drive, all things that John Gorman, Vice-President of Halliburton Canada, has in spades.

At 5,895 metres (19,340 feet), Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. Climbing it has been compared to running a marathon through a straw. But none of that phases John - he once postponed surgery on his shoulder to run an Ironman race in Arizona.  This year, John and his wife, Gio, have partnered with Calgary Health Trust to attempt the climb to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro.

John got on board for the climb after being approached for a much smaller challenge, The Run for Rockyview, a fun run that challenges staff to fundraise in support of their units at the Rockyview General Hospital (RGH). He provided an executive box to a Calgary Flames game to the team that raised the most money. Getting involved was an easy decision since the Gorman family has a long history with RGH.

Though he jokes that the hospital, "is not quite home on our GPS," the family has spent much of their time there. All of John and Gio's children were born at Rockyview and his twin nieces that were born three months premature spent many of their early days there; John had his shoulder surgery there and his twin brother, Mike, has undergone numerous cancer treatments for colon, prostate and bladder cancer.

"As we've done better in life we felt like we should do better by the community," said John, something he and his entire family have acted on. John was chair of the STARS and Spurs Gala in 2012 and as a family they have volunteered at The Mustard Seed.

His goal is to raise $50,000 for RGH and to reach it he is challenging other industry leaders to, 'give until it hurts.' "In general we take the medical system we use every day for granted. Gio and I are more than happy to climb Mount Kilimanjaro to raise funds for much needed equipment."

Funds raised from the event will support Genitourinary, Gastrointestinal and Bone and Joint care at RGH however, climbers can choose a unit or program where their money will be used towards building world-class health care.

While conquering Kili's unmistakable snow-capped peak is on the bucket-list for so many, according to National Geographic, only 45 per cent of those who attempt the mountain actually summit successfully.

To ensure the climbers have the best shot at reaching the peak, the climb will be led by Brian Keating, renowned adventurer and CBC Radio regular. Brian has been leading trips into Africa for more than three decades and is an experienced mountaineer who has explored the world. In Africa, he has trekked in the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda, climbed Mount Kenya, and summited Kilimanjaro.

While climbing Kilimanjaro may be one of the most difficult challenges he has taken on outside of work, John looks at this climb as the first step to inspiring the Oil and Gas sector in Calgary to give back to health care.

"Personally and as an industry we can do so much more," he said.

From September 28th, 2014 to October 8th, 2014, a group of community business and philanthropic leaders who support the Rockyview General Hospital will set out on the journey of a lifetime with renowned conversationalist, Brian Keating, to reach the rooftop of Africa - Mount Kilimanjaro. Click here if you would like to support John Gorman or one of the other 22 climbers participating in this incredible event.