ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – An Albuquerque boy is turning his passion for hiking into a way to help others. This coming summer, he’s going all the way to Japan to climb its tallest mountain and with each step towards the 12,000-foot peak, he’ll be raising money for other kids.
A challenge most grown men wouldn’t take on is now the mission of a 10-year-old Albuquerque boy.
“I think it’s going to be fun and a good experience,” says Landen Martinez.
There’s something about those craggy peaks of the Sandia’s that captivates Martinez.
“When I was 5, I asked my dad if we could hike the mountains and he started looking for good trails to hike,” Landen says.
Landen and his dad, Vince, chose La Luz Trail for their first hike and it’s been the boy’s favorite ever since.
“We just love the trail so we keep hiking it,” says Landen.
Yet, after a while, the 10,679 foot peak wasn’t enough. One day, treading down that same La Luz Trail, Landen set his sites on something much bigger.
“My dad said that we should hike Mount Fuji and then I said how could we help other kids and he said, ‘Hey, why don’t we just do the Make-A-Wish Foundation and raise money for that?’ And I said, ‘OK,’ ” Landen recalls.
“It wasn’t enough for him to make his own dreams come true,” says Landen’s father Vince.
With that, the two began to plan the trip of a lifetime. Support started pouring in from friends, family and, of course, the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The charity’s local chapter says there are about 60 groups that hold fundraisers for them every year, but far fewer kids call offering to raise funds.
Then again, Landen’s not your typical 10-year-old.
“It makes me feel really good that they have a wish for something they’ve always wanted to do and then their family makes that memory with them,” Landen explains.
“What I like most about him is his big heart and the way he cares for others,” says Vince.
The pair says they hope to raise at least $5,000, but Landen’s not putting any parameters around his generosity.
“Enough for one family be able to go on a Make-A-Wish trip and as much as possible,” says Landen.
Vince and Landen are preparing for their expedition by doing lots of research and training. Landen says he hopes they can hit some peaks in Colorado and Utah before the big one in Japan.
The fundraising site just went up earlier this week. Click here to donate. All of the money goes straight to Make-a-Wish America. Vince is footing all of the travel and lodging expenses himself.