Kelly scaling peaks to raise funds for Be Brave

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MANCHESTER — It takes a lot to hike Mount Everest once. But what about hiking that distance three times?

Lisa Kelly has what it takes to summit 50 peaks as a fundraiser for Be Brave for Life's fourth annual Hike-a-thon. Last weekend, as part of this year's Rise to the Challenge fundraising theme, she completed four summit hikes in 24 hours.

Kelly committed to the goal in June when the challenge started. It ends at Stratton Mountain on Sept. 29, where the Hike-A-Thon is being held this year after three years at Merck Forest and Farmland.

"I wanted to see if it was something I could accomplish — a personal goal," Kelly said. "We live in such a crazy busy world and (it's nice to) step out and feel like you're taking part in something different. I'm just trying to help others. That's why we're on this planet."

Initially, she set out to hike 40 peaks — 10 per month — and has since increased the goal. Kelly raised $1,650 out of the desired $5,000, putting her in the top one-third of fundraisers for the challenge. Be Brave has set an overall goal of $100,000 to raise awareness and funds for brain tumor research.

Burr and Burton Academy sophomore Riley Callen launched the Be Brave for Life foundation in 2015 to raise awareness in support of brain cancer research after having three benign brain stem-based tumors removed within six years.

As the owner of Zen Revolution, a yoga and spin studio, and founder of VT Unplugged, a nonprofit that focuses on healthy fun for kids, it's no surprise Kelly would tackle such a feat.

"I know the Callen family and I love their mission, (especially) when someone takes a situation that's pretty difficult and they can just flip it around and show that you can do something positive when something difficult is placed in your path," she said.

Kelly's dog comes on most of her hikes, which have mostly been in Vermont, New Hampshire and the Adirondack Mountains in New York. Along with 10 other women, Kelly hiked Stratton, Haystack, Prospect and Bromley mountains this past weekend, which brought her to 40. She also participated in past hike-a-thons with her own nonprofit. Challenge options listed on the Be Brave for Life site include specifics such as the "Trekker Challenge" for summiting four mountains, the "Mountaineer Challenge" for eight mountains, the "Everester Challenge" for hiking to the top of 16 mountains or running or walking 64 miles, and the "24 Hour Challenge" for hiking two-to-four mountains in 24 hours.

Participants have been golfing, bowling or undertaking other activities for the challenge, but Kelly wanted to do something she loves.

"It's given me a bit of a focus. I love nature and I love hiking," Kelly said. "I'm just trying to make a difference in a small way."

For more information, visit https://bebrave.life.

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