By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — On this longest day of the year, a Minnesota man shined light on a disease that robbed him of his father.

Andrew Davis is raising awareness for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia by using his love of the outdoors.

“We were facing temperatures from anywhere between minus-20 to minus-50 [degrees] … with really high winds,” Davis said.

He braved impossible conditions to climb the largest peak in North America.

“We were on the mountain for 19 days, and thankfully we summited on day 17, so 19 days entirely on snow and ice,” he said.

Davis climbed Denali in honor of his dad, Woods Davis.

Andrew Davis (credit: CBS)

“My father passed away four years ago from complications of frontal temporal dementia after being diagnosed for three years, and it was a very painful process,” Davis said.

Davis’ dad was the person who first introduced him to the outdoors. He uses the pain from his death to push forward in the name of research.

“Climbing for a Cure” is his blend of his passion for mountaineering with his passion for advocacy.

“This is the fourth year in a row that I’ve climbed a significant mountain in honor of my father, and to try to make an impact with the Alzheimer’s Association,” Davis said.

Alzheimer’s is the most expensive disease in America. In 2018, it will cost our nation $277 billion.

By 2050, these cost could rise as high as $1.1 trillion.

“It’s the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, but it’s the only-leading cause of death in the top ten … where there is no prevention, no treatment and no cure,” Davis said.

He said raising awareness on the longest day of the year is meant to honor those living with the disease and their caregivers, for whom every day is the longest day of the year.

Reg Chapman