‘Everyday Everest’ Awendaw woman climbing to raise money for cancer research

Local News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Does it feel like your tasks are never-ending? Your to-do list is never any shorter, and that you never have time or the energy to do the things you enjoy?

According to Cokie Cox, if you answered yes to any of the questions above, then you are suffering from Lifestyle Deficit Disorder.

In the book, “Perfect Day,” Cox, who is the author, reveals strategies and steps you can put into place steering you to a life of purpose, joy, and freedom. And for Cokie, personally, that included climbing the highest mountain on the planet.

Cokie now enjoys life on the farm with her family in Awendaw. But just a few months ago, her life was much different.

“Kind of hilarious, a girl from Charleston, the Lowcountry, to have this passion for alpine climbing. I didn’t know it was in me,” she said.

That’s right, Cokie climbed Everest – one of 116 women to ever accomplish this amazing feat.

In fact, Cokie has scaled five of the so-called seven summits of the world. It took her 60 days start to finish to conquer Everest.

Training right here in the Lowcountry, which as you know, has no hills let alone mountains.

“We trained on the Ravenel Bridge. It’s a lot of just getting your feet right and your head right and time, time with yourself,” she said.

There were times she questioned if she could do it. “I never intended to climb Everest,” she said. “Four hours on a treadmill with an oxygen depravation generator on your face, with a weight vest, and your family in front of a movie with you, you think this is coo-coo for cocoa puffs—like, what am I doing? I think, if it was just about tapping a summit, it wouldn’t have been enough.”

It was much more than that. Her alpine career began back in 2003 after a meeting with her business coach. But as her love for climbing developed, so too did the idea that this had to be about much more than just herself.

“I didn’t know what I was in for, I just knew that I was going to do the next right thing, and I just kept climbing mountains.”

And before Everest, Cokie came up with the “Everyday Everest” campaign, dedicating her climb to the Medical University of South Carolina’s Hollings Cancer Center with the hope of raising one million dollars in support of cancer research, education, and prevention.

“I really wanted to connect to something that I feel like I can really move the needle on, and that for me was directly cancer,” she said.

Because Cokie lost her grandmother and aunt to cancer, she feels Everest was a way to leverage her cause in some way other than the accomplishment and accolades. She hopes people can re-prioritize and put her health first.

“We all have summits,” she said. “We all have mountains we climb every single day. It just might not be Everest for you. And for some people, and I’ve been here, your mountain might just be keeping that mammogram appointment today and not canceling it because of life. We all have our mountains.”

So far, ‘Everyday Everest’ has raised over $1.1 million for Hollings Cancer Center. Cokie still has two more summits to climb in Australia and Antarctica, which she hopes to accomplish next year.

When asked about her pest part of climbing Everest, Cokie said it was her daughter walking her to base camp.

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