Cancer survivor scales Mount Kilimanjaro with doctor who saved his life

CHICAGO – Four years ago, a Chicago-area man was given a five percent chance of survival after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. This month, he returned from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro with the doctor who saved his life.

Ken Brown believes he is alive today thanks to Dr. Malcom Bilimoria, who was with him through his first uphill battle against cancer, and his second climbing the tallest mountain in Africa.

Brown said the expedition began when he asked Bilimoria a simple question, "What are you doing this summer?" When Brown found out about the trip his doctor had planned with some colleagues, he wanted to be a part of it.

Brown said he did a double-take and told his doctor, "Malcolm, you can't go without me, that's my dream!"

Bilimoria told WGN he liked the idea immediately. "Not only was it great to be able to spend time with him, but it would be great to show other patients that this is what you can do," Bilimoria said.

The pair said as they scaled the 20,000-foot climb together they found joy not only in reaching the summit, but also in journeying there together.

"I shouldn't have been here. I just spent six days getting to know the man who saved my life, and I just also had the opportunity to see sights no one else can see at night," Brown said. "I feel like I can reach out and touch the stars."

November is National Pancreatic Awareness Month. Ken Brown and Dr. Malcom Bilimoria want people to know pancreatic cancer isn't a life sentence and there are options to not only survive, but truly live.

For more information about Northwest Community Healthcare, visit their website.