Spotlight: OP Alumnus Chris Hutchison’s Climb for Cancer

Chris Hutchison

Chris Hutchison

Michael Finnen, Staff Writer

After roaming the halls at Oratory, students each go their own way to pursue their own walks of life. One such student, Chris Hutchison, a graduate of Oratory, and a well-remembered, well-liked figure of the school, has now decided to journey to new heights. Chris will soon be faced with a challenge like never before: he will be scaling about 70% of the world’s tallest mountain, Mount Everest. In a recent interview, Chris told me a bit about himself, as well as his preparations and motivations for his new and exciting journey.

Since Chris left the halls Oratory Prep in 2016, he has moved on to George Washington University in Washington D.C. There, he is majoring in International Affairs at the Eliot School of International Affairs. He is also taking a double minor in History and in Russian Studies. Chris is also currently involved in several service organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, the world’s largest Catholic men’s organization, as well as Choose a Challenge, the organization which he will be climbing Mount Everest to support. As an International Affairs major, it is essential for Chris to have world experience, and he plans to study abroad in Moscow this summer on an 8-week long language learning program. He has a passion for language, and he currently works as a Russian tutor at George Washington University for those who require assistance in learning the very challenging and unique Russian alphabet and language. Chris has also obtained much professional experience working in the House of Representatives for New Jersey Congressman Leonard Lance.

Despite all of his new experiences, Chris has never forgotten where he came from. He explained that all of his experiences at Oratory, “established a foundation for all of the work that I am doing today”. Asking staff members about him, I received nothing but positive comments about Chris’ time at the school. Chris was very well rounded, not only involved in varsity baseball but also the President of the History and Politics Club. He also served on the school’s student council and was a part of the Fed Challenge team. Perhaps a large influence on his desire to help others were the many Bridges runs to help the homeless and hungry in New York City he participated in throughout his time at the school.

Chris gave me information about his preparations for his climb. Climbing the tallest mountain in the world is not an easy task, and training for the climb involves intense physical efforts. Chris explained that running often is probably the most important thing that he has to do to prepare himself. Running as much as possible is important because it will greatly increase his lung capacity. Climbing up to 20,000 feet involves a drastic altitude change, which, if not properly prepared for, could seriously harm to a human being. The change in atmospheric pressure results in a lack of oxygen inside of your body. However, the human body can acclimate to differing pressure levels given some time, as their bodies increase the depth of their breaths. Chris and his group will be climbing up to about 20,000 feet, which is about 70% of Mt. Everest. Their destination is the Base Camp, and their trip will take about 12 days in total. The climb itself takes about 10 of those days while descending only takes 2. Along the way, they will be staying in different villages and tea houses at night, and several of those 10 days going up the mountain will be used as acclimations days, where they will not do any climbing.

The desire to help others, shown and developed at Oratory, was a huge factor in what led Chris to undertake his new journey. Chris is an adventure seeker, always looking for a new challenge and a new, exciting experience. Climbing up much of the tallest mountain in the world certainly qualifies. However, it is less for his own sake that he has decided to climb, but it is for the sake of others. Chris told me that he is incredibly passionate about the cause he is trying to support, the B+ Foundation. This act of selflessness is something which I very much admire.

The B+ Foundation is an organization with the main goal of helping children with cancer. They do many different things, such as providing financial aid to hundreds of families with cancer-ridden children. They also allot funds to finding cures and treatments for cancer in children, using other organizations such as St. Jude Children’s Hospital to aid in the process. Their third mission is to spread awareness for their cause, as currently, only 4% of the government’s cancer research budget goes towards childhood cancer. Meanwhile, over 15,000 children each year are diagnosed with the deadly disease (for reference the entire town of Summit has a population of 22,000). Defending some of the most vulnerable in our society is something that is truly amazing and something that, sadly, is often forgotten about. I highly recommend researching this charity if you are interested, they are doing great work in the world.

Chris’ personal goal is done through the Choose a Challenge Program, which is run through the B+ Foundation. This program allows others to volunteer and raise money for this great cause. Many different universities have gotten involved, including Georgetown, American University, as well as Chris’ George Washington University. Within this program, Chris is trying to raise $5,500 dollars to help fight childhood cancer. He will be climbing Everest for this purpose, to help those 46 children who every day are told that they have cancer, a life-threatening illness. Looking at his personal page on the website, Chris has already funded nearly 25% of this total goal.

This program is not limited to college students. Anyone can donate at any time to help all of those poor children, who may one day have hope. Donations are not required, but anyone who wishes to donate any amount of money to Chris’ cause can do so at this link:

Personally, I admire people like Chris. I think it is a truly spectacular thing to be doing, taking on a new challenge, and helping others. Opportunities like this one do not come every day, and not everyone can say that they climbed over ⅔ of Mt. Everest. I very much hope that it is people like Chris, doing the littlest of things, not donating a million dollars, but just the small amounts, that make the difference for the lives of children. Giving children hope, hope that a cure can be found one day, is something that I greatly respect.

I, along with the entire school of Oratory, wish Chris Hutchison the best of luck with his trip. We hope that you are successful in everything that you set out to do.