A well-known Pocatello doctor plans to climb the highest mountain in North America starting May 17 to help raise funds for the nonprofit JRM Foundation for Humanity.
The JRM Foundation was started in 2011 by Pocatello doctors and brothers Fahim and Naeem Rahim.
It invests in women and children’s health and education on a regional, national and global scale.
Fahim Rahim said the fundraising event to climb Denali in Alaska is under the #Climb4Humanity 2021 program, which started a year after the 2015 earthquake in Nepal and in turn is under the JRM Foundation.
And as Fahim spent more time in Nepal, he started talking with people on ways to provide health care to high-altitude mountain workers in a remote area who otherwise wouldn’t have much access to health care.
“So we built a clinic out there and then we serve that clinic now every time we go out there plus there’s a full-time person who runs it,” Fahim said.
He says that was how the whole thing started and people began going with them once or twice a year on goodwill journeys.
“So over the last four years, #Climb4Humanity has done multiple projects,” Fahim said.
One of those projects was to raise funds for the PTSD Veteran Athletes program run by local veteran Russell Davies as a way to help returning vets cope with PTSD and related issues.
The JRM Foundation also started another project called Hike4humanity in 2016.
That has been pretty much a yearly program and this year it did two projects, Fahim said, including one to the top of an active volcano in Ecuador.
“It’s beautiful terrain there,” he said.
And Fahim provides information to online readers and viewers as events move along to encourage people to donate funds for the causes represented in these endeavors.
“I pay for it myself and that’s my contribution and I use that experience to share with people online,” Fahim said.
And other participants and climbers encourage donations through posts on their Facebook pages and similar sites.
“Everybody is supposed to pay for their own climb and hike so 100 percent goes toward the cause,” he said.
Further, #Climb4Humanity events have raised money to aid local people with low incomes and chronic ailments.
Fahim says it’s clear that chronic disease can cause a person’s whole life to start falling apart.
“Eventually you can’t work any more and you can’t earn anymore,” he said.
Then he said food insecurity hits these residents hard.
Further, they might, for example, need kidney dialysis three days a week, but they don’t have the money for a ride to go get it, he said.
Fahim has started noticing those needs more often.
So he wants to help raise awareness and do something to help.
The money he’d like to raise for the foundation is to create something he calls the Denali Patient Fund.
He has goals for the money he’d like to raise in the estimated two to three weeks it takes to climb to the top of Denali, which rises to 20,308 feet.
“My idea for this climb was to create a narrative and awareness for the community to really understand what we need to focus on,” Fahim said.
The focus should not only be on the disease aspect for patients, but also the social elements of disease and how the system can be changed to help address that, he said.
He says that’s something everyone in the community can help with, including physicians.
“I want to take this topic to the highest possible place where I can spread the word,” Fahim said. “The Denali Patient Fund will be created through the help of this fundraiser to focus on social aspects of disease.”
He said a lot of elderly people live alone and have Meals on Wheels. But they might not have money for a cab to get needed care.
“In this part of the country our transportation system is not like a big city where you can get on a bus all the time,” he said.
Thus, for example, it will help if the doctors can prescribe medications with a pharmacy that delivers, he said.
So Fahim wants to create awareness and help a few people along the way with the funds raised from the #Climb4Humanity trip to the top of Denali.
“Denali is the first piece of the puzzle I want to put on the table where everybody else shows up with their piece of the puzzle and then you see how you can complete the puzzle,” Fahim said.
He also hopes to create a patient care fund in the JRM Foundation for Humanity to use toward those goals.
“A week or two before we leave I’ll create a narrative on social media,” he said.
Then weeks of travelogues will follow that update from the locations where Fahim and fellow climbers are at.
On the larger scale, he says he trying to not get comfortable with the status quo.
“For us to bring change we have to be the change ourselves,” he said.
So he wants to put himself in uncomfortable positions physically and emotionally to raise funds and use his own funds to match what’s raised, he said.
“To me over the years it has become a very spiritual process,” he said.
And he’s seeing some impact from the efforts of the participants in the climbs and those tracking the climb on their computers at home.
His last climb raised $8,000. And he hopes for that much or more from the climb to the top of Denali.
So he encourages people to donate at JRMFoundation.org and share the social media link for the latest #Climb4Humanity effort.
In addition to that and donating, he says people can help by checking on neighbors with any chronic conditions.
They can also offer to help someone get to the doctor’s office when possible or just see if their neighbors with health issues have enough food and enough of the right food, he said.
“Obviously we cannot solve all the problems in the world, but we can bring attention, bring awareness and help,” Fahim said.