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The Climb of My Life: Scaling Mountains with a Borrowed Heart Hardcover – November 1, 2007
From Publishers Weekly
Perkins and her husband have always led a life filled with mountain climbing and other athletic activities. Strong, active 30-year-old women rarely end up in hospital cardiac units, but when Perkins discovered she had contracted a viral infection that lodged in her heart, it soon became clear that substantial intervention was needed. She received a defibrillator implant, a pacemaker, numerous drugs and eventually a transplant. Perkins decided to live her post-transplant life to the fullest, scaling Mt. Fuji, the Matterhorn, Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Whitney in an effort to bring attention to the need for organ donors around the world. While at times her writing can become treacly, there are some truly heartwarming moments. Much like Laura Evans's 1996 cancer survival memoir by the same title, Perkins's engaging tale provides valuable inspiration for others struggling to return to an active life after a dire illness. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Climb of My Life demonstrates Kelly's ability to prevail in the face of adversity, whether it be a howling blizzard or a critical care operating room. (James Redford, founder and president, James Redford Institute for Transplant Awareness)
Kelly Perkins has chosen to share her remarkable story with the world through The Climb of My Life: Scaling Mountains with a Borrowed Heart. Kelly's story is a tribute to the strength of the human spirit and the courage of one woman who refused to succumb to adversity but rather used her obstacles as inspiration to reach unparalleled heights in her life. Truly a heart-warming story of triumph. (The Honorable Tommy G. Thompson, former secretary, United States Department of Health & Human Services, former governor, Wisconsin)
Perkins's engaging tale provides valuable inspiration for others struggling to return to an active life after a dire illness. (Publishers Weekly)
Given a second chance on life, Kelly refuses to allow a heart transplant to stop her from living an extraordinary life full of challenging adventures around the world. Her story exemplifies what it means to live every day with purpose and heart. (Erik Weihenmayer, author of Touch the Top of the World: A Blind Man's Journey to Climb Farther than the Eye Can See: My Story)
A gripping story. The Climb of My Life highlights the great progress that has occurred over four decades of heart transplants. Many will enjoy this book, particularly patients, relatives, and friends who are experiencing the ravages of heart disease—giving them hope. (Donald Harrison M.D., former president of the American Heart Association)
The Climb of My Life is a powerful journey into the physical and emotional mysteries of the human heart. Kelly's story reminds us of the unexpected surprises that may lie around the next bend and the qualities we need to reach our own summits. (Steve Zikman, coauthor of Chicken Soup for the Traveler's Soul)
Even readers who aren't mountaineers will get caught up in Perkins's story and find themselves cheering her on and sharing in her triumph when she summits the seemingly insurmountable peaks. (Library Journal)
This is a powerful love story as well as a cutting-edge medical and sports adventure. (Booklist)
She's become a transplant activist, climbing the world's most famous mountains to demonstrate the importance of organ donation. In 2001, she became the first heart transplant to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro; in 2003, she repeated that feat on Mt. Fuji- hoping that her ascent "might in some way lift the country's cultural veil and brighten the future....Part of Perkins' activism is a memoir, The Climb of My Life: Scaling Mountaint with a Borrowed Heart, which she will discuss at the Livermore Public Library, Civic Center on Sunday August 3. (East Bay Express, 8/5/08)
Kelly Perkins is a woman who doesn't know the meaning of the word impossible. (Katie Couric)
Kelly and Craig Perkins are a remarkable couple…[theirs] is such an inspirational story. (Candice Bergen)
Will inspire readers to live life to the fullest—and to sign an organ-donor card. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Top Customer Reviews
But Kelly did more than survive. She was determined to reclaim the vigorous outdoor life she once led, even though doctors and others cautioned her that this was unrealistic. Not only did Kelly survive and regain her former vitality, she accomplished something that few "normal" people ever achieve: climbing some of the highest mountains in the world, while speaking all over the world about the importance of organ donation.
Those who have met or know the Perkinses, as I do, were already aware of the general outline of their compelling story. But it was only upon reading the book that I became aware of their struggles, despair, hope, and joy. This is a wonderful story, told with honesty and humor.
Like all great stories, Kelly's first existed in the ordinary world. In the beginning Kelly might have been described as an intelligent and nice young woman going about the conventional business of a having a good life. But I think even then we, the witnesses to her story, would notice certain things about her: a heightened intensity and perhaps even a strange and wonderful energy searching for its focus. Which came as death itself pounded at her door and an ordinary life ended.
As you read Kelly's book you'll see the normal heart breaking stuff of dramatic hospital stories: the enormous fear brought by the idea of leaving life and parting with loved ones long before you're ready. And it is here that Kelly stood at the portal to the extraordinary world that beckoned to her. It is here that Kelly answers the call to arms and her fantastic energy finds its purpose. Superlatives start piling up: her will grows strong and resolute, even indomitable; she passes through a living hell and drawing on this strength, she survives and if that was the end of the story, it would be a great one.
But surviving was not enough for Kelly.
She had mountains to climb. And every step up the mountain side, added another superlative to her resume: resilient, indefatigable, tenacious gives way to triumphant, victorious, joyful.
And finally Kelly's story becomes inspirational not just to all of us here, but to the world.
Read this book for excitement, and inspiration.
On loan for us all in this candid personal narrative is a close study of sacrifice--both ultimate and intimate--and one woman's commitment to live her "after life" reinventing the limits of what we all take for granted as that thing we call the known.
Kelly and her indefatigable partner, Craig, do something Kelly's surgeons could not: They take the heart out from the cavity of the chest and place it into our hands so that we might, for a moment, let us say a heartbeat even, experience this organ as a source of life more infinite than our own.
I can't begin to count the many life lessons learned and absorbed while reading Kelly's story. And here I am, an old geezer in my mid 60s learning about life from a young whippersnapper like Kelly.
Thanks for your wisdom, your outlook and all you do for others.
And, Craig, thank you too for your amazing energy and support.
Relating one's life experiences is a subtle art. Kelly does a fantastic job of placing the reader in her environment without appearing indulgent. Also, while it is clear that she champions the cause of organ donation, she does not use the book to beat the reader over the head with her message. Bravo!
I was most touched by chapter 10 (Dog Years). It is a departure from the rest of the book in that it provides insight into the lives of Kelly and Craig when they are not in the throes of an acute situation. Perhaps by definition, a tale of adventure elides the day to day. The contrast provided by this chapter, however, brought Kelly's condition and Craig's stoicism into a sort of focus not obtainable when the alpine imagery is dominant.
I look forward to future chronicles.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written and very descriptive.Read more