M&T Employee to Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro to Raise Funds for Diabetes Research

BALTIMORE, Md.—A Baltimore father and son will take on an expedition of a lifetime on Sept. 2-16 to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in Arusha, Tanzania, to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), a non-profit organization dedicated to finding a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research.

Matthew R. Weir, M.D., 57, and his son M. Ryan Weir, Jr., 25, are making this “bucket list” trek to climb the tallest peak in Africa. For every foot they climb, they hope to raise one dollar towards research for the Maryland chapter of JDRF.

Dubbed “Searching for A Cure Atop Mt. Kilimanjaro,” the 19,341-foot ascent is an extremely challenging mountain climb with diverse weather conditions varying from tropical forests to glacial fields. Both men decided this adventure needed an additional challenge to people in Maryland to get out and fund raise.

“I wanted our trek make a difference in the lives of others by raising money and awareness for a disease that has affected many close friends and colleagues,” said Ryan Weir, a business banking officer for M&T Bank in Towson.

“Non-profits have faced significant financial challenges over the past few years. Every day I see the patients with diabetes and recognize how devastating this disease can be,” said Dr. Weir, Director of the Division of Nephrology at University of Maryland School of Medicine, University of Maryland Medical Center. Dr. Weir does research and cares for patients with diabetic kidney disease and treats others who require kidney and/or pancreas transplants.

The two began their fundraising campaign through a series of emails to friends and family and it has now gone viral through Facebook and Twitter. So far, they have reached roughly 5 percent of their goal. They plan to give daily updates of their adventurous climb via Twitter at www.twitter.com/cureatopkili. People interested in supporting the effort may visit http://jdrfevents.donordrive.com/event/cureatopmtkilimanjaro/.

M&T Bank will make a $1,000 donation to JDRF in support of the Weirs’ fundraising effort.

“We are proud to support Ryan and his father in their impressive effort to raise money for such an important organization as JDRF,” said Atwood “Woody” Collins III, president of M&T Bank’s Mid-Atlantic Division. “All of Ryan’s colleagues at M&T wish them well on their climb and we will be following their progress and cheering them on.”

Both are avid sportsmen and marathon runners, but neither of them has climbed a mountain as high as Mt. Kilimanjaro.

“This adventure will benefit a great charity, but will also be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a father and son. I was looking for someone who would do this with me and I cannot think of a greater father-son bonding experience,” said Ryan Weir.

JDRF is a leader in setting the agenda for diabetes research worldwide, and is the largest charitable funder and advocate of type 1 diabetes research. The mission of JDRF is to find a cure for diabetes and its complications through the support of research. Type 1 diabetes is a disease which strikes children and adults suddenly and requires multiple injections of insulin daily or a continuous infusion of insulin through a pump. Insulin, however, is not a cure for diabetes, nor does it prevent its eventual and devastating complications, which may include kidney failure, blindness, heart disease, stroke, and amputation. Since its founding in 1970 by parents of children with type 1 diabetes, JDRF has awarded more than $1.4 billion to diabetes research, including more than $100 million last year.