Ain’t no mountain high enough 

They’re climbing mountains, but they might as well be moving them.

As you are reading this, the 10-member climbing team known as “The Regulars” is scaling 11,239 feet to the summit of Mt. Hood, the highest peak in the state of Oregon. This is the third of 10 mountains in a campaign to raise awareness and find cures for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

The 10 Mountains — 10 Years journey started with a trek up 16,000-foot Mont Blanc in Haute-Savoie, France in 2006, and will end in 2015 when the group ascends Mt. Everest, the highest mountain in the world. Backlight Productions, a Los Angeles-based production company, is filming each expedition and will release a documentary trilogy over the next decade. The first is slated for release in Spring 2009.

“I was drawn to the cause behind the mountain climbs,” said Jennifer Yee, 24, independent film producer and owner of Backlight Productions. “I’ve always wanted to tell stories that could help people. I saw a big opportunity here to document what this team was doing.”

Filming for 10 Mountains — 10 Years began when Yee, an experienced mountaineer, joined the team’s second trip last year to Ecuador’s “Avenue of Volcanoes.” There, Yee and the rest of The Regulars climbed Cotopaxi, the second-highest active volcano in the world, and Chimborazo, a volcano known to be the closest point on earth to the sun.

“Climbing a mountain is something you have to experience to understand it,” Yee said. “The greatest joy of the journey has been the team members from all walks of life coming together for the same goal.”

The newest member of the team is San Antonian Matthew Jimenez. A 2005 graduate of Brackenridge High School, Jimenez, 21, heard about The Regulars while studying film at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. That’s where he connected with Enzo Simone, who founded The Regulars after his mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2002, and, months later, his father-in-law was diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

“I didn’t know much about either of `the diseases` at the time, but as I researched I learned there wasn’t a cure,” Simone, 41, said. “So, I decided to create this long-term plan where a group of regular people could try to do something extraordinary on behalf of the people that have these diseases.”

Although Jimenez was first interested in the group because of the mountain-climbing aspect, he soon found himself studying the diseases. Since he moved back to San Antonio from New York City, Jimenez is currently the only Regulars team member in Texas, which drove him to do as much public-relations work he could in the South.

“Once I start putting faces to the diseases, it started to become more about the cause than the climb,” Jimenez said. “When you start thinking about it, what climbers do with their bodies is an art form. When you think of people with Parkinson’s, they don’t have any control over their body. That really affected me.”

With a “world-wide casting call” already launched, Simone is confident that each climb — no matter how high the summit — will be bigger than the last.

“`10 Mountains — 10 Years` gives people an opportunity to look at what kind of progress we have made in finding a cure for these diseases in the past year,” Simone said. “Everyone should do something bigger than themselves on behalf of others sometime in their life. You don’t have to be rich, be well-known, or even have a good reason to do it. All you have to do is try to make a
difference.”

To make a donation and/or contact The Regulars, visit theregulars.org


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