Breaking News: Jonathan Maidment, first person with a rare disease to achieve the Triple Crown of Hiking


November 19, 2020- After hiking the Continental Divide for the past five months, Jonathan Maidment completes his third hiking journey and achieves the Triple Crown! Maidment adds this last hike of the Continental Divide Trail to complete this incredible feat, an arduous journey consisting of 3,100 miles along the Rocky Mountains and crossing Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico.

The Triple Crown of Hiking refers to the three major long-distance hiking trails in the United States: the Appalachian Trail (AT), the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and the Continental Divide Trail (CDT). The Triple Crown is a grueling endurance challenge taking place over several years, as hikers trek nearly 8,000 miles across 22 states with one million feet of cumulative elevation gain. It is estimated that only 600 people worldwide have completed the Triple Crown.

“I can’t believe that by the end of this I will have done 2,500 miles in under 5 months! That, to me, is insane! I’ve done everything that I could over the last 6+ years. I’ve hiked nearly 8,000 miles (more by the end of this trip). I’ve spent 604 days trying to achieve this dream of Triple Crowning, and now it’s finally happening,” Jonathan exclaimed just 83.3 miles from the finish line.

Jonathan Maidment, a 25-year-old from Connecticut, walked the entire 2,184 miles of the AT in 2014, the 2,650 miles of the PCT in 2019, and now adds the 3,100 miles of the CDT in 2020, all while raising an incredible amount of awareness about Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1) and funding for research and related programs at the Alpha-1 Foundation.

Jonathan himself is an Alpha, diagnosed with this rare disease at the age of 10. Alpha-1 is a hereditary genetic condition, passed from parents to children. His father, Dave, is also an Alpha and his mother, Karen, is a carrier.

“It was a great day for the Alpha-1 world when Jonathan made a phone call to the Foundation’s office and explained what he wanted to accomplish. We listened, encouraged him every step of the way and knew this young man would help us bring awareness to this condition,” said Angela McBride, Director of Corporate Relations & Community Engagement at the Alpha-1 Foundation.

Hiking for a Cure began when Jonathan started the official Facebook page “Hiking for a Cure for Alpha-1” (@hiking4acure) at 18 years old. Before setting off for college, he decided to combine his dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail and his mission to raise funds and awareness for Alpha-1. Today, at the completion of all three trails, the page has nearly 2,000 followers, inspiring the Alpha-1 patient community with each step taken. He has continuously used the hashtags: #Hikingforacure, #Alpha1Awareness and #TripleCrownofHiking

“The Triple Crowning has been a dream of mine for years and to have it so close to coming true is exciting! I hope that we raise even more money for the Alpha-1 Foundation and continue to spread awareness for this terrible disease that has affected all of us in the Alpha-1 community deeply. Let’s find a cure for Alpha-1,” he said as his hike kicked off in April.

These three hikes have not come without their own challenges. Maidment first attempted to hike the PCT in 2018, but in June of that year, he had to break at mile 813 due to severe abdominal pain. He was airlifted to a hospital in Bishop, California, where he was led to emergency surgery. He later completed the trail in October 2019 to accomplish his personal goal. He has climbed to the highest portion of the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountain ranges, endured freezing cold temperatures, feet of snow and scorching hot days in the sun with some bumps and bruises along the way. His incredible spirit and determination has been proven to the world and moved the entire Alpha-1 community!

“I am incredibly impressed with Jonathan’s will and determination throughout the years, thru each and every mile that he has hiked. Jonathan has motivated patients worldwide with his perseverance to achieving a goal, he has brought together the Alpha-1 community both in the United States and internationally. We are incredibly grateful for this dedication and commitment to Alphas, he has raised a tremendous amount of awareness and funds for Alpha-1. It is truly inspirational,” said Miriam O’Day, President and CEO of the Alpha-1 Foundation.

In total, Jonathan Maidment has raised over $250,000 since the creation of Hiking for a Cure. Proceeds from the fundraiser have been dedicated to finding a cure for Alpha-1 through the Alpha-1 Foundation. To contribute, please visit: HIKING FOR A CURE

Hiking for a Cure is part of The Building Friends for a Cure (BFC) program at the Alpha-1 Foundation. This program is a critical component of the Foundation’s goal of raising awareness of Alpha-1 while providing tools to the community to raise funds to support research and related programs. The BFC program is generously supported by AlphaNet, CSL Behring, Eversana, Grifols, and Takeda.

Click here to view the official Hiking for a Cure for Alpha-1 Facebook page.

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About the Alpha-1 Foundation

Alpha-1 is a genetic (inherited) condition that is passed from parents to their children through their genes. Alpha-1 may result in serious lung disease in adults and/or liver disease at any age. The Alpha-1 Foundation, founded in 1995, is committed to finding a cure for Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency (Alpha-1) and to improving the lives of people affected by Alpha-1 worldwide. The Foundation has invested over $81 million to support Alpha-1 research and programs at 116 institutions in North America, Europe, the Middle East, and Australia.

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Contact: Jeanne Kushner

Director of Communications & Public Affairs

877-228-7321, ext. 204