Encouraging Words

“We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.”

–Ben Sweetland

TA carrying the Olympic Torch in the 2010 Torch RelayTA is blessed with a community of support that stretches from St. John’s to Dubai and from Mendoza to Yellowknife. What began as an email to ten friends six years ago has blossomed beyond belief. Please take a few minutes to read some of the encouraging words others have written to TA throughout her adventures and life challenges. You can add you own message of inspiration in the comment section below.

Patricia Edwards, Grade Five Teacher and Parent, C.C. Loughlin School, March 4, 2013

Thanks for taking care of Stanley for Josh. It is greatly appreciated by me, him and all the students at the school.
Thanks, as well, for taking the time to come share your adventures with our kids again. Your words and images do have an impact and the kids are so excited when they have the privilege of seeing you. I am always personally inspired by your spirit.  Thanks for letting me be part of your journeys.

Jennie Wadden, Event Planning Specialist, Newfoundland Power,                Feb. 6, 2013

I just wanted to thank you again for speaking at our meeting yesterday.  I received a ton of great feedback about having you there and everyone thought your presentation was great.  It was a great way to kick off our meeting and your presentation was a perfect fit. Thanks again!!

Renée Chippett, Grade Six Teacher, Rennie’s River Elementary School,      Jan. 27, 2013

I really enjoyed your presentation with the elementary students last week.
It inspired me to tell my students all about my hike to the top of Gros
Morne mountain ten years ago:) Thanks again for the wonderful presentation.


Rachelle Batstone May 28, 2012

I saw you on the news and just wanted to send on my congratulations. I was very pleased to finally meet you and your partner out at the Brother Brennan Centre at the ‘Get Out” workshop. You are a major inspiration to everyone, especially girls, to get outside and push themselves to accomplish amazing things.  Congrats again on your trip.

Stephanie Baker, Holy Trinity Elementary School, Feb. 1, 2012

What an awesome video! Thanks so much for all the links you’ve sent – I’ll
pass them along to the grade 4’s. The students really enjoyed your
presentation and your sense of humor – certainly a virtue given all the
interruptions for PA announcements! Thanks again for your inspirational presentation!


Costa Kasimos, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood, May 18, 2011

Thank you so much for your very moving and inspiring talk for the International Day Against Homophobia breakfast.  It certainly caused me to reflect on the my work here at Planned Parenthood and relate it to your metaphors.  Many people have since remarked how your words touched them and motivated them into action.

Ralph Percey, Principal Roncalli Central High  March 14, 2011

Thanks again for agreeing to come to our school. On Friday, we heard so
many more positive things from the kids in relation to your presentation,
I felt I had to send you another message of thanks.

Thanks again for your awesome presentation. I have passed along your name
to others in hopes that they will also invite you to their schools to
share your story of goals and hard work to meet them.  Great job. Good luck with your future adventures.

Loretta Ryan, NL Chapter of IPMA-Canada, June 19, 2011

On behalf of the NL Chapter of IPMA-Canada, our President John Peddle and Program Co-Chair Heather Peters, I would like to thank you for your presentation at our conference, Strategic HR: A Beacon for Your Success.

I can honestly say that your presentation took people to new heights and touched them in many ways, myself included. You took us on your journey with breathtaking photography and an emotional commitment to a challenge that most of us will just stand in awe of.

Thank you for contributing to the success of our conference and hope you are enjoying your wilderness experience in Ontario.

2 Responses to Encouraging Words

  1. Anonymous says:

    HI, Mrs. Somers class from Rennie’s River Elementary have been following your climb. Their question is “What challenges have you faced so far on your climb?” We wish you luck and hope that you reach your goal.

  2. TA Loeffler says:

    When did you start climbing?

    I started climbing trees when I was nine. I then moved onto climbing the garage, the house, rock cliffs, and eventually mountains. My high school had an outdoor pursuits club and that gave me the skills to begin my career as an outdoor educator.

    Why do you climb mountains?

    I climbed Denali because I needed a really big project in my life to throw my heart and soul into. After that experience and seeing how, by sharing my process, others were inspired, I’ve continued to climb and adventure as a way to move others and myself forward. When I climb to high places, I see my world and myself in new ways. Even when I return to sea level, I carry what I saw with me through the rest of my life. I also love living and adventuring outdoors–it’s when I feel most alive and most “me.”

    How many mountains have you climbed? What is your favorite mountain that you have climbed?

    Actually, I forgot to count. I figure I have climbed 40-50 mountains in total. Denali is my favorite mountain to date. I have climbed six of the “Seven Summits” and climbed the highest point in ten different countries thus far.

    How do you train for climbing mountains?

    I train 10-20 hours per week depending on how close an expedition is to leaving. I run, attend step aerobics with a pack, lift weights, do yoga, play hockey, climb Signal Hill, and meditate. I train a few hours each day if I can fit in it.

    How do you train and fundraise and still manage your job?

    I don’t have much down time. I haven’t much watched TV in the past eight years. I multi-task. Sometimes I don’t get much sleep. Memorial University has been very supportive and my job allows me some flexibility in scheduling.

    How much can you bench press and leg press?

    I can bench press 160 pounds and leg press 750 pounds.

    Have you always been fit?

    I have always had a good level of fitness. When I started training for Denali, however, I had never been a runner. So I began by running one minute and walking one minute, running one minute and walking one minute. I then gradually increased the mileage until I was able to run more than 25 kilometers.

    How much does it cost to climb Mount Everest?

    Mount Everest is an expensive mountain to climb. My budget wass $60,000 which included the Everest permit, outfitter fees, my personal Sherpa, satellite phone and airtime, gear, and travel.

    Are you scared about climbing Mount Everest?

    You betcha! Mount Everest is a mountain with many hazards. I have worked hard to develop a high level of fitness and skill that I hope will help keep me safe but there are no guarantees. I’m scared of the Khumbu icefall, the effects of extreme high altitude, and the traverse to the summit. I have learned to work with my fear and use it to practice good hazard management. All said though, I am both excited and scared.

    Have you ever fallen into a crevasse or been in an avalanche?

    Knock on wood. Neither my team nor myself has ever fallen into a crevasse or been in an avalanche.

    Will you climb with oxygen?

    I will use oxygen on summit bids on 8000 metre peaks. Using oxygen reduces the chances of getting frostbite and helps me think clearer.

    What do you miss while you are on mountains?

    I miss hockey! It seems just when I get my hockey legs back it’s time to go climb another mountain. I will also miss my friends, family, and Buddhist Sangha. I’ll miss the smell of the ocean and of course, I will miss Vanilla Dips!

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