The third time wasn't the charm for Dublin resident Mike Roderick in his quest to summit Mount Rainier.
Illness and snow plagued the climb, but Roderick isn't letting that stop him from planning another trip next summer and continuing his charitable work with his nonprofit, Embrace the First Step.
The climb, attempted by eight central Ohio residents, raised money for eight local charities: A Kid Again, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio, the Arthritis Foundation, LifeCare Alliance, Nationwide Children's Hospital, the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research, Flying Horse Farms and the Wounded Warrior Project.
The goal was to raise $80,000, or $10,000 for each charity, but the first year's yield fell short, reaching about $12,000. Climbers collected pledges and held fundraisers throughout the year.
"It was a lofty goal," Roderick said, adding that the charities are happy to receive $1,500 each.
The climb also didn't go as planned: Only five of eight made it to the top, which stands 14,410 feet above sea level in Washington.
Roderick, on his third try at the mountain, was struck with severe flu during the climb. Others suffered dehydration and altitude sickness.
"It was tough because of the heat and then the snow," Roderick said. "They had a record winter, too."
Despite the challenges, Roderick said he's committed to the work of Embrace the First Step, which he founded to raise money for local charities.
"We'll go to Rainier again next year," he said. "I already have two teams of 16 climbers for next year right now. It's more people to raise money for deserving charities. There will be eight new charities next year."
Embrace the First Step will aim to help charities that benefit children, animals, veterans and seniors.
"There will be twice as many events next year and the climb is already set for July," he said.
Two golf outings are planned for the next year of fundraising, which starts this month; one will come Sept. 20 in the form of a long-drive and skills competition at the Columbus Country Club.
Roderick also is planning a home run derby the same day in Foundations Park in Pataskala to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio.
"We'll take it to interested communities," he said. "We'll do something different with challenges."
A dinner and dance competition fundraiser is in the planning stages for January.
Although challenges will make up the brunt of fundraisers for Embrace the First Step, Roderick said that's not the sole focus.
"I don't want Embrace the First Step to be all about competition," he said. "It all goes back to central Ohio charities. It's more than that. ... I want to keep this moving forward every year in an exciting way. The mission is to get people engaged and take that first step and embrace it."
For more information about Embrace the First Step, visit embracethefirststep.org.