Massachusetts

Worcester County native to climb world’s 3rd tallest peak for cancer fundraiser

HERMOSA BEACH, CA — Mark Parella has been to the roof of the world.

On a glorious, sun-splashed spring day in the Himalayas in 2019, Mark summitted Mount Everest, the highest point on Earth. “I took a second and just looked and everywhere you looked all the mountains are so far down below you. It’s just a surreal feeling and you can actually see the curvature of the earth and everything. You’re like, wow, you really are on top of the world,” he said.

The top of the United States is up next for the 42-year-old Navy veteran, who attended Westfield State University. Mark will attempt to climb Denali, the tallest peak in North America.

He’s attempting to conquer the Alaska mountain for a fundraiser called, Climb Against Cancer-fighting cancer through adventure philanthropy – bringing you happiness and self-worth by making a difference in someone else’s life.

The money will go to the Cancer Support Community South Bay - Cancer Support Community South Bay, in Southern California, to help patients recover from the physical and emotional effects of cancer.

Mark has been training for the climb for months near his home in Hermosa Beach, California. He’s spent hours on the stair master, hours running up flights of stairs with 120 pounds of gear strapped to his back, and hours training in the sand.

“I like to go out on the beach and I’ll drag a tire, so I’ll attach a tire to myself and I’ll drag it for 3 miles on a run back and forth in the beach sand,” Mark said.

Mark grew up in Holden, where his family still lives and it’s the place he discovered his love of climbing as a Boy Scout when he first hiked Mount Wachusett.

“I always like to say I went from the smallest mountain in the world to the biggest mountain in the world.”

Mark plans to climb Denali in mid-June. It will be his third attempt. Weather conditions prevented him from submitting Denali twice before.

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