At the recent Canoecopia consumer show organized by Madison, Wis., retailer Rutabaga, a hat was passed at the vendor reception for Midwest Mountaineering buyer Andy Knapp to help defray some costs of medicines that are not covered by his existing insurance. Donations amounted to $1,350. Rutabaga agreed to match the first $1,000, and during the passing of the hat, Confluence announced it would match the first $1,000, as well. As a result, a check is being delivered to Knapp next week for $3,350.
Darren Bush, owner of Rutabaga, told SNEWS®, "The hat had everything from singles to hundreds and everything in between … God, I love this industry!"
For those who do not know Knapp, allow us to introduce you. In addition to being a Midwest Mountaineering buyer, he's an adventurer extraordinaire. His list of adventure accomplishments is mind-blowing:
- Circumnavigating Lake Superior by bicycle in 1964.
- Bicycling from Minnesota to Alaska and back in 1967.
- A 500-mile solo backpacking trip through the Brooks Range in 1972.
- Climbing Mount McKinley in 1979.
- Bicycling across Europe in 1984.
- Sea kayaking solo across Lake Superior from Isle Royale to Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula in 1993.
- Circumnavigating Lake Superior by sea kayak, without resupply in 1996.
In 2003, Andy was diagnosed with Stage 3b renal cell carcinoma. After undergoing treatment, Andy celebrated the 40th anniversary of his 1967 trip with another ride to Alaska.
On Feb. 18, 2009, Andy sent the following email to his friends, and SNEWS, thankfully, is counted among them: "As many of you may know, I am taking a leave of absence to enter the hospital for a lengthy stay to receive a bone marrow transplant procedure that has a chance of attacking and setting back the renal cell cancer I have been fighting for six years. There are more details on my blog listed below. There are mortality risks with this therapy, but as I see it, it's no worse than the odds of staring down bears, crevasses, cliffs, towering waves, rapids, endless highways, and so on."
Andy's blog is www.andytknapp.blogspot.com. While you are there, leave a comment for Andy to read if you feel so inclined. At the very least, send some healing thoughts his way. It will be good for you, for him and, frankly, for our industry. We could all use a little more healing energy.