Arizona man hikes Piestewa Peak nearly non-stop to help friend who is battling cancer
PHOENIX - A Phoenix man has hiked Piestewa Peak multiple times – nearly non-stop – for a good cause.
Gilbert Castillo is hiking the mountain to help raise money for his friend Mico Vasquez, who has been battling cancer for the past year and a half.
"I'm doing good compared to when I first started. I'm doing good," said Castillo.
Vasquez, at the age of 43, is battling Stage 4 Tongue and Throat Cancer. Castillo took a challenge for Vasquez, as he hiked Piestewa Peak 30 times in 60 hours, with only a two-hour nap break.
"March 2 at 7:15, I started my first hike, and I did not end until Saturday night at 9:30, when I made my last trip," said Castillo.
Day in and day out, Vasquez was at the bottom of the mountain cheering Castillo on, along with family and friends.
"Make sure he was drinking a lot of water, eating, bringing him food and support," said Vasquez.
Support is what got Castillo to the halfway mark, and by the end of the challenge, Castillo said it was more than just a hike.
"Everybody has mountains to climb, so I felt like this right here was a message of inspiration to tell people [to] never give up," said Castillo.
Vasquez still has his own mountain to climb, but he knows he is not facing it alone.
"I feel hopeful and have a lot of faith, so I'm doing good," said Vasquez.
Vasquez is in good spirits, and is thankful for everyone who came out to support his journey to recovery.
As for Castillo, he said he would do it again for Vasquez. Castillo was able to raise $17,000.