Climbing to

Children and Veterans are two of the most vulnerable populations in our country today. Both groups are at higher risk for exploitation and abuse. Both groups are too-often forgotten in our society today, and deeply in need of support and care.


Over 18,000 children will be diagnosed with cancer next year. 1,700 will die.

Ryan Kelley, President & Founder

Children rely on us to make decisions for them. They’re dependent on others to satisfy even their most basic needs. And in the case of children who are battling serious illnesses, facing poverty, or separated from their parents, this vulnerability is magnified.

Children are America’s future. And Veterans have A wise saying goes tells us it takes a village to raise a child. That’s why children facing hardship need us to step up, offering them advocacy, support, and care.

for the Kids

Before the Foundation there was Ryan Kelley and a small group of dedicated employees at The Home Loan Expert, who took on a mountain to raise funds and awareness for a boy battling cancer named Alec.

Every year we promote and support organizations focused on childhood cancer and other serious illness.

Our Inspiration Our Inspiration Join a Climb Join a Climb
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2020 CFTK, More Than A Crown

Imagine being told as a child that you have stage 4 cancer. Elizabeth Weidner used her battle and her crown as Jr. Miss Effingham County Fair to inspire action for kids struggling with this terrible disease. Our team heard her cry for help and used it as motivation to summit mountains in Alaska during our Climb for the Kids 2021. We raised over $64,000 for pediatric cancer to help kids live full and healthy lives.

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2019 CFTK, Switching the Summit

This short documentary film is about the limitations of childhood cancer research which focuses on the stories of Alec Ingram and Elizabeth Weidner, both of whom experienced pediatric cancer. This film was a part of our 2019 Climb for the Kids event in Ecuador climbing Cotopaxi Volcano. We raised over $50,000.

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2022 CFTK, Appalachian Trail in Tenness

We climb and fight for those who can’t. On this climb, we hiked over 15 miles on the iconic Appalachian Trail to raise $35,000 for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with EXIT Southeast and The Home Loan Expert. Our climbers braved the wind and rain of Hurricane Ian so they could make a difference in kids’ lives.


Veterans are 1.5 times more at-risk for suicide and are at a far higher risk for serious mental illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress, substance abuse disorders, and depression.

Matt Murphy, Hero Loan

Veterans are another uniquely vulnerable group in our society, more so than most Americans know. Compared to the general population, Veterans are 1.5 times more at-risk for suicide[1] and are at a far higher risk for serious mental illnesses, such as post-traumatic stress, substance abuse disorders, and depression[2].

[1] SOURCE: U.S Department of Veteran Affairs (2018). VA National Suicide Data Report: 2015-2016. [2] SOURCE: National Institute on Drug Abuse (2019). Substance Use and Military Life.

Veterans, military personnel, and their families are targeted by scammers at a higher rate than civilians[3]. Veterans are even at a greater risk of homelessness than civilians[4]. Our nation’s Veterans have sacrificed so much for us already. We owe it to them to ensure their needs are being met and their contributions celebrated.

[3] SOURCE: AARP (2021). [4] SOURCE: Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health (2015).

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2022 Hero Loan Climb, Missouri

The Hero Loan Climb 2022 was a great success! The stormy weather didn’t stop us. We braved the elements and raised over $20,000 for Fisher House Foundation! Our climb helped sponsor the build of a new home in Columbia, MO!

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2022 Bataan Memorial Death March

Our teams across seven states raised almost $8,000 for Fisher House so they can keep even more military families together during times of medical need. This year meant even more as Bob Kelley, USAF, rucked with us and shared his incredible journey.

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2021 Hero Loan Climb, Guadalupe Peak

We were able to raise over $11k for Fisher House Foundation while summiting Guadalupe Peak. We stood on the top of Texas all to support our military families. 100% of money raised was donated to Fisher House.

Children are America’s future. And Veterans have given us America’s present. Join us in helping these important groups thrive, succeed, and be heard.

Keith Austin
Executive Director

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Raised Since 2015
Organizations Supported since 2015
Individual and Business Donors

Every dollar counts!

Our Charitable Partners receive 100% of event donations to support children’s and Veterans’ causes.

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago.

Fisher House Foundation

An organization that has served over 400,000 families since its inception, Fisher House is focused on supporting military and veteran families in a variety of ways, including providing comfort homes where military & veteran families can stay free of charge while a loved one is in the hospital.

Team Alec Forever

Team Alec Forever’s  mission is to financially help childhood cancer families with end of life expenses, who are treated in the St. Louis area. No one should ever have to go through this. Our greatest wish is for this to never again be needed. Our prayer will ALWAYS be for a world without childhood cancer. We continue to fight for that to become reality. Until then, we will fund raise to financially support families going through this horrible disease. Surviving the loss of a child is hard enough. Help us, help these families in memory of Alec Ingram.

Ronald McDonald House Charities

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) believes when families are together, they cope better, and that no family should have to deal with their child’s medical crisis alone. The mission of RMHC is to create, find, and support programs that directly improve the health and well-being of children and their families.

First Descents

First Descents provides life-changing outdoor adventures for young adults (ages 18 – 39) impacted by cancer and other serious health conditions.

Children’s Heart Foundation

The Children’s Heart Foundation was founded in 1996 and is the country’s leading organization solely dedicated to funding congenital heart defect (CHD) research. Their mission is to advance the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of congenital heart defects by funding the most promising research. To date, through 2020, The Children’s Heart Foundation has funded $15 million of CHD research and scientific collaborations.

Girls on the Run St. Louis

Inspires girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

Friends of Kids with Cancer

Friends of Kids with Cancer is devoted to enriching the daily lives of children undergoing treatment for, and survivors of, cancer and blood-related diseases.

Crowns Fight Cancer

The Southeastern Illinois Community Foundation works jointly on the legacy that Elizabeth established with Crowns Fight Cancer. As a childhood cancer warrior, Elizabeth advocated for those that couldn’t by utilizing her crown to change how the world viewed pediatric cancer.

Girls on the Run Rockies

Inspires girls to be joyful, healthy, and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.

SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Foundation

Focused not just on the health of kids today but on the long-term health of the communities it serves.

Fight DMD

Funds research to help find a cure for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, a rare genetic disease that weakens the muscles over time.

Isaac Bruce Foundation

Reaches out to youth and teaches them at an early age the importance of a healthy lifestyle with a focus on education.

Children’s Home & Aid

Children’s Home & Aid is a leading child and family service agency in Illinois. They help children recover their health, their hope, and their faith in the people around them. For 138 years, CH&A has shown up for Illinois families. They serve in the places where it’s proven to be the most effective: at home, in the classroom, and in the community. CH&A is an agency that puts families at the center of every decision and believe that communities where we all work, play and live together can be strengthened through data-informed, collaborative and preventative solutions.

3 Ways to Help Today



Donate today to our general fund or directly to one of our many upcoming events.


Climb with Us

Climb a mountain with us to fundraise for children and U.S. veterans battling cancer and other life-threatening diseases.


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Our Mission

Keep Climbing Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that serves children and U.S. Veterans by hosting fundraising mountain climbs for various charities year-round. Our mission is to help both our climbers and our beneficiaries reach their personal summits by supporting them as they overcome life’s obstacles. And thanks to the generous support of The Home Loan Expert, Hero Loan, and our other corporate sponsors, 100% of our donations go directly to the charities we support.

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