Damon Runyon News

February 12, 2024

On Saturday, February 10, 2024, an intrepid team of twenty scientific luminaries led by biotech journalist and mountaineer Luke Timmerman embarked upon the trip of a lifetime—a hike to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro, the African continent’s highest peak. In advance of the expedition, the team trained for hiking at more than 19,000 feet above sea level, enlisted the support of friends and colleagues, and together raised more than $1 million to support Damon Runyon’s brave and bold cancer researchers.

The Timmerman Traverse team on the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro

All members of the team successfully reached the summit of Kilimanjaro on February 14, with blue skies and excellent weather serving as a celebratory backdrop for their achievement.

Since launching the Timmerman Traverse in 2017, Mr. Timmerman has led expeditions up Mt. Everest, the Matterhorn, and the seven highest peaks in the White Mountains, raising over $7.6 million to combat cancer and poverty. Participants in this year’s Traverse include eighteen executives and investors in biotech and two current Damon Runyon Fellows: Henry Kilgore, PhD, of Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, and Wei (Will) Chen, PhD, of the University of Washington in Seattle.

“As a scientist in Seattle, I do a lot of hiking and camping already, but this is really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Dr. Chen. “By challenging myself to climb to the top of Kilimanjaro, I hope to inspire others to make big, challenging moves as well.”

“I believe in Damon Runyon’s mission and am impressed with its ability to execute on a national scale,” said Mr. Timmerman. “By betting on young scientists, Damon Runyon has sparked revolutionary advances, including targeted therapies, CRISPR gene editing, and cancer immunotherapy. We’re going to help the young scientists of today pursue their dreams and raise the bar even higher.”

On behalf of all our Damon Runyon scientists, we are grateful to everyone who contributed to this extraordinary team, and we congratulate them on their successful summit of the mountain.

The team gathered before the hike in Arusha, Tanzania

Read more about the expedition on the Timmerman Report.

To learn more about the climbers and support their fundraising, visit the Timmerman Traverse 2024 team page.