Couple takes extra steps to help children

Phil Castle

Doug and Melinda McCaw are willing to take extra steps to help children. Quite literally, a lot of extra steps.

The Grand Junction couple ran the length of the Colorado Trail — 490 miles from Denver to Durango — in just 18 days in 2020 as part of a fund-raiser for Elevate Kids, an organization they founded to help charities that help children.

For those who don’t want to do the division, the McCaws ran an average of 27 miles — more than a marathon — 18 days in a row. Moreover, they did so while contending with the ups and downs of the Colorado Trail and a total of 87,000 vertical feet of elevation gain.

When I received a news release about the McCaws and their effort, I couldn’t imagine that kind of a physical, mental and emotional challenge. I jog a couple of times a week and once backpacked the Four Pass Loop, a 25.7-mile trail around the Maroon Bells west of Aspen with 7,752 feet of elevation gain. It took me more than three days. The Four Pass Loop is plenty long and steep by my standards, but constitutes a proverbial mole hill in comparison to the Colorado Trail. Less, in fact, than a typical day in the life of the McCaws along their trip.

Consequently, I was eager to learn more about the McCaws and accepted their invitation to attend a media premier of “Chasing the Sky,” a documentary about their journey.

The nearly two-hour film details their training and other preparations, then offers a day-by-day account of the trip. It’s more like a blow-by-blow account given the injuries, pain and fatigue they endured. They repeated a simple statement summarizing their assessment of the effort: “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.”

How, then, did they ultimately complete their quest? They explained that, too. One step at a time. By putting one foot in front of the other, day after day. But then another question arises: Why? Why embrace that kind of hardship? In part, they said, to prove to themselves they could. 

I’ve been thinking about that and its analogy to the stories I’ve heard from entrepreneurs about what they go through to start and grow their ventures. 

There’s another common motivation, though, and that’s a desire to give back.The McCaws wanted to raise money for charities that help children. The first two beneficiaries of their efforts are Kids Aid, which provides backpacks filled with food to students in Mesa County School District 51 schools who might otherwise go hungry over the weekends, and the Intermountain Adventist Academy, a school for students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Public showings of “Chasing the Sky” are scheduled for Oct. 14 at the Colorado Mesa University Center ballroom and Oct. 27 at the Picture Show movie theater in Grand Junction. Profits from ticket sales will go to Kids Aid and the Intermountain Adventist Academy. More information about Elevate Kids is available at https://elevatekids.org.

Phil Castle is editor of the Business Times. Reach him at 424-5133 or phil@thebusinesstimes.com.