Florida hikers trek Patagonia to raise money and awareness for cancer patients

GAINESVILLE, FL, January 25, 2016 - Fifteen travelers from across the state recently trekked through the Patagonia region of Argentina and Chile to benefit cancer patients in Florida and beyond, in cooperation with the Climb for Cancer Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. Led by the organization’s co-founder, Ron Farb, the group raised more than $8,000 for programs to support cancer patients and their families. The trip was organized with the help of Gainesville-based Holbrook Travel, an educational travel provider.


Those funds will help the foundation in its mission to ease the pain and suffering of those affected by cancer, primarily in the state of Florida. Since its inception in 2002, the foundation has raised well over $1.5 million and has funded or created several psycho-social programs that provide support to patients and their families, funded research grants, and given children an opportunity to attend cancer camps.


“We look for under-served needs that need funding, things that have an immediate impact,” Farb said.


The donations received from this trip will be distributed among the foundation’s various programs where they are most needed, he said, with the majority likely to benefit “Harriet’s Helping Hand.” Named for his sister, this program helps defray the cost of treatment by providing food vouchers, gas cards, and lodging to cancer patients and their families.


The travelers, most of whom had not been to Patagonia before, hit several well-known hiking spots, including the base of Cerro Torre, Fitz Roy base camp, and Laguna de los Tres. The hikes included challenging ascents of up to 1,300 feet and a trek to the base of the three granite towers known as Las Torres del Paine in Chile. Over the course of the trip, the hikers logged more than 50 miles total.


“I’ve always been excited about exposing first-time travelers to something different and something beautiful,” Farb said. “This is one of the most beautiful places on Earth. Seeing it through their eyes is exciting to me.” He also enjoys proving to people that they’re physically capable of doing things they didn’t think they could do.


The group also took part in a glacier walk, explored the cities of Buenos Aires and Santiago, saw the famous Perito Moreno glacier, and visited a winery. 


Farb began climbing in 1992, when he scaled Mount Kilimanjaro. Since then, he has climbed five of the seven summits, the highest mountain in each of the seven continents. He pays for his climbs out of his own pocket, never from donated funds. When Farb and his wife Dianne first co-founded the organization, he saw mountain climbing as an apt metaphor for the work the foundation would do for cancer patients.


“These people fighting the disease climb Mount Everest every day of their lives,” he said.



Holbrook Travel was founded on the mission to facilitate a true connection between travelers and destinations. Since 1974, the company has taken thousands of travelers on expeditions across Latin America, Africa, and destinations beyond. Holbrook combines reliable travel support with deep knowledge to create enriching travel experiences that last a lifetime. For more than 40 years, Holbrook Travel has served the needs of teachers, students, academic institutions, conservation organizations, and nature lovers.