Scotch Plains-Fanwood grad to attempt Everest climb

Photo Courtesy of Hailey Rachko
Hailey Rachko will hike Mount Everest this May in order to raise money for childhood cancer.

SCOTCH PLAINS, NJ — A Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School graduate soon will attempt to climb Mount Everest, and it won’t be just because it’s there.

Hailey Rachko, a junior at Boston University, will travel to Nepal in May in order to raise money for childhood cancer.
Rachko has partnered with the organization Choose a Challenge that designates a task and asks the individual participating to raise money for charity.

In two months, alongside 24 Boston University classmates, Rachko will attempt to scale Everest to a base camp approximately 17,000 feet above sea level, about 12,000 from the peak.

While Rachko has no prior experience of mountain climbing, she told LocalSource that she is not fearful.
“I have not climbed a mountain of this magnitude ever before,” she said. “I think the hardest challenge might be the mental push, but I’m not afraid.”

Rachko will be raising money for the Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, an organization that funds childhood cancer research and also provides financial and emotional support to families with children battling cancer.

“My goal is to raise $5,500, but I’m hoping to exceed that amount,” Rachko said. “The more I can impact the lives of these families the better.”
She told LocalSource that while she’s prepared for the physical strain the trek will place on her body, it won’t discourage her from reaching the top.

“I’m even more prepared to keep the end goal in sight, and to put these kids and their families and my teammates first, before any pain, soreness or tiredness.”

Inspired to take part in the adventure by her roomate, Noelle Fallacara, who previously hiked Mount Kilimanjaro — with its 19,341-foot summit in the African nation of Tanzania, Rachko yearned to embark on a similar journey.

“I felt like something was missing from my life and college experience and knew it was a lack of the volunteering I had loved to do so much in high school,” Rachko added. “It seemed like the opportunity of a lifetime and I had such regret that it wasn’t something I was involved in.”

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