Climbs “Seven Summits”
Impetus to Change GLBT Suicide Rate
Cason Crane is an incoming Princeton University freshman. Devastated by the suicide of a friend as well as the tragic death of Tyler Clementi in his home state.prompted Carson to help more LGBTQ youth to get the help they need and to call attention to youth suicide, the third leading cause of death for 15-to-24 year-olds.
Gay himself, Cason remembers times when he was bullied, teased in the locker room, and called names. Luckily, he had the support of family and friends unlike many GLBT kids who consider suicide. In fact, GLBTQ kids have four times the suicide rate of their peers.
The Rainbow Summits Project
A cum laude graduate of a competitive preparatory school, Choate Rosemary Hall, Cason wanted to bring awareness and funds The Trevor Project, the leading GLBTQ suicide and crisis prevention service. His work is called The Rainbow Summits Project.
While most organizations raise money through telethons, direct mail, SuperPacs, Cason has a unique approach: he climbs mountains. Although he says he is afraid of heights, he has been climbing since he was fifteen years old when he climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa. He has worked and partaked of volunteer missions in Africa, Asia, and North America and has travelled to more than sixty-five countries.
A good athlete, he is an avid runner, swimmer, and triathlete. He completed his first Ironman in New Zealand in January 2012.
Although physically fit, Crane speaks about the challenges inherent in climbing the tallest mountains in the seven continents. He likens climbing to the challenges of being GLBTQ: the obstacles, the need for external support, but ultimately, the pay-off – the high of being true to themselves and to those who care about them.
Crane has climbed mountains in the United States, New Zealand, Russia, Switzerland, France, and Argentina. His ascent of Mt. Everest, the tallest in the world, was on May 21. His final climb, a second try, was Mt. McKinley in Alaska on July 11, 2013. He carried Tibetan prayer flags to the summit. Pictures are on his website: http://www. casoncrane.com, On the flags are dedications to people who have committed suicide or been the victims of harassment.
No Small Feat
With his seven climbs, Crane becomes the first openly LGBT person to attain the distinction of successfully climbing to the tops of the highest mountains on each continent. He is also the fifth youngest person to achieve that record.
Raised Awareness and Money
Cason Crane has raised over $135,000 for The Trevor Project and awareness for GLBTQ suicide. This year, he received an award from GLAAD, a principal organization for LGBT equality that works directly with the news media. You can also follow Cason on Twitter mailto:@casoncrane.