Before launching his successful real estate career, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage President Chris Jensen was a world champion freestyle skier. Earlier this month, Chris used those skills in a very special type of competition, one that proved every bit as rewarding for him as his athletic career.
Taking place in Valdez, Alaska, Chris skied in the first annual Cure Blindness Valdez charity fundraising event – a six-day long event held April 27 through May 3. The excursion was hosted by Geoff Tabin, MD, co-founder of the Himalayan Cataract Project. The challenging event brought together business leaders, champion skiers, and philanthropists for a week of heli-skiing in order to raise money for construction of a permanent, primary eye care facility in Manang, a village in central Nepal that serves as central hub for several important routes.
The 2014 event raised $60,000, primarily from donations from Chris and the other skiers, as well as Valdez Heli-Ski Guides.
Besides Chris, other noteworthy attendees included Rick Alden, founder and executive director of Skullcandy; Adam Bronfman, managing director of the Samuel Bronfman Foundation; and world champion freestyle skiers Mark Stiegemeir, Mark Archibald and Craig Sabina.
The group skied on the incredibly steep and rugged mountain terrain before the spring conditions made it too dangerous to continue.
In a later interview, Chris stated that this incredible event was one of the most challenging ski treks he had done, but also one of the most rewarding.
“I felt extremely privileged to be skiing beside some of freestyle skiing’s great legends, and for such a great cause,” he said. “What these doctors do in developing countries is nothing short of miraculous.”
“Dr. Tabin has become a legend in his own right through his philanthropic efforts and also his extreme outlook on life. He was the fourth person in history to summit the highest mountains on all seven continents. The book about his life, “Second Suns,” tells the whole story. I was honored to be in his company.”
The Himalayan Cataract Project has performed thousands of surgeries and provided impoverished communities the training, materials, and skills needed to combat blindness for years to come.
To learn more about the Himalayan Cataract Project’s mission, history, and work, please visit http://www.cureblindness.org.