On Saturday, November 9, at 2:30 in the morning, Jason Carden staggered his way through breakfast and out the door with his fellow Ultimate Hikers. He piled into a van that took them deep into the mountains on South Carolina, where he and his companions were on the trail by 4:00 am. Jason spent 10 consecutive hours hiking to complete the course – a truly remarkable feat considering that just 15 months ago, Jason could barely walk for 15 consecutive minutes and weighed close to 500lb. Since his weight loss journey started in mid-2012, Jason has lost more than 160 lbs.
Jason struggled with obesity his entire life, and in August 2012 underwent gastric bypass surgery. It was a major life change, and he had to re-learn about nutrition and exercise. Drawing inspiration from a suggestion on The Biggest Loser, Jason began setting goals. A close friend of his completed the Ultimate Hike in 2012, and for Jason giving back to others while helping himself seemed like a perfect goal. The 28 mile hike, as it turned out, was perfect as well, as Jason’s goal weight loss was 280 lbs. “I set a goal for myself to hike the Ultimate Hike as a challenge – 1 mile for every 10 pounds lost,” said Carden. Not only did Jason complete the Ultimate Hike, but he crossed the finish line first!
As part of the Ultimate Hike, Jason not only committed to hiking the 28.3 miles and losing weight, but also to raising significant funds for CureSearch for Children’s Cancer. To date, Jason has raised over $3,000. “So far, my Ultimate Hike experience has been amazing. I have been blown away by people’s generosity, my co-workers have been amazing, my friends and family have all gone above the call of duty,” said Jason.
The Hike took place in Oconee County, South Carolina and funds raised helped CureSearch fund innovative and targeted research. “Jason has come so far to be able to complete this event, and we were so excited to watch him cross the finish line. All of his hard work not only allowed him to reach his fitness goal, but to change the odds for children facing cancer,” said Brecka Putnam, Ultimate Hike Manager for CureSearch. While the Hike may be over, Jason is far from done supporting children with cancer.