The Ryan Rivard
The Ryan Rivard
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Meet Ryan Rivard The Man Behind the Everest Climb

In the profound words of Rainer Maria Rilke, “Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart. And try to love the questions themselves.” These words have been a guiding beacon in my journey, a journey that has led me to the base of the world’s highest peak – Mount Everest. But before I share the story of this climb, let me take you back to where it all began.

When I was just seven years old, life threw its harshest curveball at me – I lost my grandfather to suicide. He was my mentor, my guide, the epitome of what I believed a man should be. His passing left a void in my heart, a void that I unknowingly started filling with the wrong means. As a child, I turned to my inhaler, not realizing I was numbing my pain with each puff. It was my first unwitting step down a path of addiction.

The years that followed saw me spiraling deeper into this abyss. Alcohol, marijuana, and a cocktail of pills became my escape. I was lost in a haze, trying to blur out the pain and the void left by my grandfather’s absence. High school was a blur of intoxication, and by the time I reached Penn State, my life was in shambles. My addiction had taken over, leading to a near-fatal overdose on my front lawn. It was a wake-up call I couldn’t ignore.

In those dark moments, I realized I needed help. My journey to recovery began at Hazelden Betty Ford’s Center for Teens, Young Adults and Families. It was there that I first understood the depth of my addiction and the path to recovery. Hazelden Betty Ford was more than a treatment center; it was where I learned to live again. It was when I realized that my addiction didn’t define me – my resilience and willingness to change did.

Now, over 21 years sober, I stand at a different precipice – the climb of Mount Everest. This climb is more than a physical challenge; it’s a metaphor for my life’s journey. Each step towards the summit is a reminder of where I’ve been and how far I’ve come. It’s a tribute to my late grandfather, a testament to my battle with addiction, and a beacon of hope for those still struggling.

In partnership with Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, I embark on this climb not just for myself but for everyone who believes their mountains are too high to climb. This journey is for those battling mental health issues, for those lost in the grip of addiction, and for those who think their dreams are out of reach.

As I take on Everest, I carry with me the lessons of my past, the strength of my recovery, and the hopes of many. This climb is a message – a message that no matter how insurmountable the challenges may seem, with resilience, support, and a belief in oneself, nothing is impossible.

Join me on this journey, not just to the top of Everest but to a place of understanding, acceptance, and hope. Together, let’s prove that every mountain top is within reach if we just keep climbing.

Thank you for your support.



To Join The Climb we are always looking for support. This effort is a hugh endevor and take a lot of resources to create the awareness nationally. We are always looking for corporate sponsorship from organizations that want to participate in helping to fund and raise awareness for the overall campaign. For personal donations to the causes for the climb please feel free to learn more about our non-profit Let’s Fuel Growth or donate directly here.

We also invite you to learn more about Hazelden Betty Ford’s Spark Hope campaign, where you’ll have an opportunity to team up with their community of supporters to help more people break through and discover that through recovery no peak is too high to conquer.