COLVILLE, Wash. — Rebekah Murphy is on a quest to hike to five peaks in five weeks. The reason? To raise funds and awareness for a rare and fatal illness called Batten disease.
The disease is an inherited disorder of the nervous system that typically starts during childhood.
Each week, for five weeks, Murphy hikes in honor or in memory of a child diagnosed with Batten disease.
"I'm climbing the mountain for these kids. A lot of them are in wheel chairs and can't walk anymore," Murphy said. “Getting to the mountain top can be hard, it's a challenge, but when you get up there the view is just amazing."
Her third hike up Colville Mountain was Monday. Her hikes for the kids are known as “5 Peaks in 5 Weeks.” A name, Murphy said, just clicked.
"I wanted to do something that was inspiring and exciting and I love hiking so it just came to me one day,” Murphy said. "5 Peaks in 5 Weeks."
This week’s hike was up Colville Mountain. Murphy hiked the mountain in a Star Wars shirt in honor of Nathan.
"He's 13 and he loves Star wars,” Murphy said. “So I got this shirt."
Murphy hiked her first peak as part of this initiative on May 28 in memory of her nephew Titus and in honor of his brother Ely. The first hike was the same day as Titus's birthday. He would have been seven this year, but Batten disease took Titus much too soon.
"I woke up that morning so excited. I was so excited.” Murphy said. “I was ready to tackle the day and get up that mountain."
Titus and Ely’s mom, Bekah Bowman, felt the same excitement.
"Knowing that something was happening in his memory and in Ely's honor was life giving to me.” Bowman said. “I was able to put some energy and thought into something that was exciting and carrying on his legacy."
Titus and Ely's mom said since she knows the journey of battling this disease first hand, she couldn't help but support Murphy's quest to help other families traveling this road too.
Both Murphy and Bowman climbed Colville Mountain facing every obstacle along the way together.
"I mean we hit challenges on every hike. Those kind of challenges where we say 'do we turn around and go back?' Well no,” Murphy said. “There's no way we're going to do that because it's symbolic of life and the struggles that we go through."
After the hike up Colville Mountain, Rebekah has two more hikes left to go.