FULTON – Tim Conners, a blind cancer survivor who first made headlines climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2020, will host a free, “pay it forward” event, from noon-2 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 29 at Fulton’s Bullhead Point pavilion, to thank the community and supporters on his latest mission: a cross-country tandem bicycle trek that will take him through Fulton, mile -3,357 on the Northern Tier Bike Route.
The event, where Conners will discuss his journey, will feature music, free drawings for gift baskets, cupcakes and a map showing progress so-far on the bicycle trek that began June 6. He’ll also launch his Redefine Possible Foundation.
Aug. 29 is Conners’ 27th birthday, but instead of presents, he will collect school supplies for patients at Upstate Golisano Children’s’ Hospital in Syracuse and he encourages any who attend to bring some items for the hospital.
“I really wanted to use this event as an opportunity to thank all the people and organizations who have supported me,” Conners said. “Fulton is a wonderful, giving, community, and they’ve always been there for me and my family when we needed them most.”
Conners, with friend and Ithaca College classmate, Carlos Toribio, are covering a 4,000-mile Northern Tier Route from Washington to Maine. “Our goal is to inspire a nation with hope and raise funds to support children and families dealing with life threatening illnesses and disabilities. You aren’t your circumstances. It’s what you do with those circumstances.” Their plan is to finish their journey on Sept. 10 in Bar Harbor, Maine.
At 15, Conners was diagnosed with t-cell acute lymphoblastic Leukemia, which changed his life forever.
“It would take my sight in less than 48 hours, it would push my body to heart, lung, and kidney failure, and only after spending 100 days straight in the hospital was I finally strong enough to return home. “At that time in my life I felt broken. I could no longer walk. I had to receive food through an IV because I was too weak to eat. The bone marrow transplant that was supposed to save my life reset my immune system, which meant I had to spend a year in isolation. And to top it all off I finally had to come to grips with the fact that I was going to be a blind person living in a sighted world the rest of my life. My mantra became ‘Cancer may have taken a lot of things away from me including my sight, but it will never take my vision.’ “Since graduating from high school I have been blessed with the opportunity to inspire audiences around the world with my story of succeeding in the face of adversity, take on a mission to summit Africa’s highest peak Mount Kilimanjaro, and through it all have been able to raise tens of thousands of dollars for charities supporting individuals and their families in situations just like mine, but in 2019 I knew I still wanted to do more. That desire to want to pay it forward for others just like so many have been there for me started me on a journey, and I am proud to say that after becoming 10 years cancer free in September, 2020.”
Ultimately, following this adventure and personal crusade, Conners will fully focus on his new Redefine Possible Foundation.