Originally published via Fox News Digital
Lance Kawaguchi, CEO of Cure Brain Cancer Foundation, plans to travel 70 miles by foot through Antarctica this winter
Many people are willing to go to great lengths for the causes they care about so passionately.
One of those people is Lance Kawaguchi, CEO of Australia's Cure Brain Cancer Foundation. He's gearing up to trek across Antarctica to the center of the South Pole to raise money for cancer charities.
Kawaguchi, who grew up in Hawaii and today lives in Sydney, Australia, first got involved in cancer charity after his mother, longtime schoolteacher Katherine Kawaguchi, passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2016.
"It was the worst news I'd ever heard," he told Fox News Digital.
Before she passed away in their hometown of Mililani, Hawaii, Kawaguchi's mother encouraged her son to give back through social causes.
After researching global charities, Kawaguchi got involved with Cure Brain Cancer Foundation in 2021 and then took over as CEO.
Fox News Digital spoke to him in an on-camera interview about how the idea of walking 70 miles through freezing conditions became a goal for him.
His commitment initially came as a surprise to Kawaguchi’s loved ones, he said, since the father of two hadn’t worked out or even "lifted a weight" in more than 30 years.
"This is really going out of my comfort zone," he said.
After hearing about someone else who completed a trek across the South Pole, he said he took it as a challenge to try it himself while adding a charitable element.
Kawaguchi invited other cancer charities around the world to join his mission to raise money as he takes on the trek.
Individual donors can give any amount to the charity of their choice, he said.
Cure Brain Cancer Foundation has a goal of raising $2 million through its CEO’s efforts — while each additional charity has set its own fundraising goals.
Kawaguchi has enlisted 18 different charities based in Qatar, Hong Kong, the U.K. and the U.S., including the New York Cancer Research Institute, with an expectation for more organizations to get involved, he said.
For the first time ever, Cure Brain Cancer Foundation has partnered with the royal family of Qatar for the Qatar Cancer Society.
In Hong Kong, Kawaguchi is also trekking for the Asian Fund for Cancer Research.
"By the time I actually step onto Antarctica, I think we're going to be close to 25 [charities that are taking part] — including one in Latin America and one potentially in the Middle East," he said.
Kawaguchi, 48, will begin his journey on Dec. 15, 2023, with a goal of completing it on or around Jan. 4, 2024.
The trek across the South Pole is 70 miles long at an altitude of 9,300 feet, with temperatures going as low as -22 degrees Fahrenheit.
Kawaguchi will walk for about 10 hours every day while pulling a 90-pound sled full of essential supplies.
He will be accompanied by a medic and another team leader.
"I've always been mentally strong, but I think the biggest variable for me is the physical component," he said.
"I don't know how my body will adjust to that temperature for prolonged periods of time," he said.
Kawaguchi said he'll have to be covered from head to toe to avoid frostbite, but also sunburn, since the sun will be out 24 hours a day.
"It is so cold and uninhabitable and dry, there are no animals that can live there," he said. "It's essentially a frozen desert."
Kawaguchi said he believes he is the first cancer charity CEO to do this trek across the South Pole.
During his four months of training, Kawaguchi has increased his daily caloric intake from 1,800 calories to 9,000.
By the time he takes off for Antarctica, Kawaguchi will have had 10 months of daily training under his belt.
"If I can do this, and I can help charities raise millions of dollars for cancer across the world — what if everybody did that?" he said.
By Christmas time, Kawaguchi said how he hopes to "take the blinders" off other organizations that are conditioned to focus solely on their own charities.
He said he "still finds it difficult" to believe that cancer has been around for more than 5,000 documented years — yet still there is no cure.
"I just feel everyone is focused on their own thing and not on what we should be focused on — just getting treatment," he said.
Kawaguchi is intent on bringing together the nonprofit community, avoiding competition and promoting collaboration.
"You can bring people along and everybody can be successful," he said.
"Anything you do has inherent risk, but if the opportunity or the upside outweighs the downside, it might be a risk worth taking," Kawaguchi added.
People can make donations to each cancer charity at www.southpoletrek4cancer.org/partners.