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Despite Rainy Weather, Country Skies Xtreme Hike Was a Huge Success

Author: Joel Sutherland, Director of Development

Pictured above: Hikers in the 2021 Country Skies Extreme Hike for Ataxia

The participants in the 2021 Country Skies Xtreme Hike were soaked and worn out as they did their best to deal with the wet conditions Mother Nature delivered on Saturday, April 24th in Hendersonville, Tennessee. 

For some, the Xtreme Hike was destined to be a 26.2 mile hike through the streets and parks of suburban Nashville. For others, a one-hour hike “out and back” would also be an extreme effort. With a full day of rain many hikers reached their level of extreme much earlier than expected.

The Country Skies Xtreme Hike committee was led by North Carolina Support Group leader, Mike De Rosa. Other committee members included Mark Minkin (Wisconsin), Karen Suchomel (Colorado), John Dwyer (Minnesota) and Ondie Mitchell (Tennessee). In addition to committee members hikers included Amy De Leon and her son Cole from eastern Tennessee. Ed Brand made the trip to Tennessee from New York. Sherri Hubbard, originally from Nashville and now living in Arizona, had friends from Tennessee join her. Kelly and Luke Rutledge from North Texas joined us and Karen Suchomel’s husband Bart and sister Diane Ballard from Wyoming took part. Dana Mauro from Massachusetts finished the entire 26.2 mile along with Committee Chair Mike De Rosa.  

Those in attendance rooting on family and friends included Mark Minkin’s wife Leah and their friends Steve and Renae Mahler. Ed Brand’s wife Jane and Dana Mauro’s husband John also joined us for the weekend. 

With more than $58,000 raised this year, the committee has already identified April 30th, 2022 for the 2nd annual event. The committee hopes to have 50 hikers next year, one representative for each state.

The National Ataxia Foundation would like to thank all participants for their efforts this year.  Special thanks to Mike De Rosa for his vision to make this event happen and to Ondie Mitchell for all of her planning to ensure a great event. Congratulations to all. See you in 2022!!!!

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