A Chicago man preparing to climb Mount Everest will be bringing with him a very special souvenir.
Alex Pancoe has two passions: summiting mountains and finding out why brain tumors develop in young children.
He's preparing to take the trip of a lifetime, but the Chicago adventurer isn't doing it without the help of his youngest fans.
"It's going to be a very, very intense challenge," he said.
Pancoe has embarked on a journey to climb the seven summits, the highest mountains on each of the seven continents, and fly a Chicago Cubs “W” flag at each peak, all to help children battling cancer.
Each time Pancoe, an expert-level climber who beat brain cancer 14 years ago, scales one of seven summits, he raises money for brain tumor research and kids at Lurie Children’s Hospital.
If he completes his full mission, Pancoe will become the first Chicagoan and 15th American to climb them all. His charity, Peaks of Mind, also will have raised $1 million for Lurie Children’s Hospital, where Pancoe was treated for a benign tumor in college.
This time, however, he's bringing along another flag. A Lurie Children's Hospital flag, signed by his youngest fans- and his inspiration.
"They said I was an inspiration. I was like, 'Well, OK, so you've been fighting for years. You've had a very abnormal childhood and you consider me an inspiration?'" he said. "And that meant a lot."
Donations for Pancoe's efforts can be made here.