Mark’s Story

Site created on August 23, 2018

Mark Anderson is facing an extensive and invasive surgery on September 7th.  Doctors found he has two tumors: one is the size of a lemon at the base of his brain, and the other is the size of an egg wrapped around his cervical spine at C6/C7. If not treated, he will be paralyzed or die. 

Here's Mark's story:

Mark Anderson was born and raised in the Seattle area.  After achieving Eagle Scout, he joined  the Mercer Island Volunteer Fire Department in 1976. He then moved to the City of Kirkland to be a professional firefighter, became a Lieutenant in 1989, served on the Hazmat Team for 20+ years, and retired from the Kirkland Fire Department in 2016 after 30 years of service. 

In 2000 Mark was diagnosed with a baseball sized brain tumor. After surgery he was in a coma for 2 weeks. At the time he was told he would not be able to be a firefighter or climb anymore mountains, but he proved them all wrong and worked another 16 years. He thanks his two beautiful daughters, countless friends, and his fire service family for their support during that recovery.

Mark loves nothing more than to be in the outdoors teaching and educating others about hiking, climbing, kayaking, camping, rope and knots and drawing rescue systems. Mark has instructed thousands of people as Rope Rescue Specialist for the Peak Rescue Institute at Joshua Tree for the last 27 years. Mark has been a champion raising millions of dollars for the American Lung Association as a Chief Mountain Guide, and helped train over 2,000 people to climb Mt. Rainer, all to raise awareness of lung disease and research. Mark was awarded the American Lung Association's National Volunteer of the Year in 2013.

Marks dream was to build a small but warm cabin to share with his family and friends north of Anchorage Alaska and he just accomplished that dream about 6 months ago. While shoveling snow at the cabin, he noticed pain, tingling, and numbness down his arms that would not go away.  After doctor visits in Alaska, he came back to the Puget Sound area where doctors found he has two tumors: one is the size of a lemon at the base of his brain, and the other is the size of an egg wrapped around his cervical spine at C6/C7. If not treated, he will be paralyzed or die.

Mark is a fighter and is choosing to face this treacherous journey again. His goal is to return to his cabin and serve his family and friends their favorite breakfast, as they watch the moose and bears go through his front yard. It is quite possible this surgery will result with Mark being in a coma.  Permanent paralyzation is also possible. Post-surgery rehab will most likely be necessary, and insurance will only cover so much. 

Thank You for your support and prayers.  Any financial help is greatly appreciated!  There is a GoFundMe link - please click on the WAYS TO HELP button, above, or simply make checks payable to Mark Anderson and mail to: 

Mark Anderson
Kirkland Fire Department
123 Fifth Ave
Kirkland, WA  98033

Please feel free to leave a comment and we hope you enjoy his photos.

Newest Update

Journal entry by Mark Anderson

Hi everyone, wanted to give you an update on Mark.
He went to the doctor the other day and had a MRI of his brain, and everything looked good! There is no sign of the tumor.
Mark is still having double vision and weakness in his left hand and arm, so he’s not on the computer yet.
He is texting more and doing more with his phone in short time periods.
During the hospital stay they figured out that Mark has sleep apnea so he is sleeping with a CPAP machine and is have good results with better rest in the morning and sleeping through the night.
Mark is doing physical therapy and occupational therapy twice a week and doing great with that.
He is walking about 1.5 miles a day with his hiking poles. The walker is gone!
He looks forward to having friends stop by so feel free to do so or give him a call or text.
He feels like he is doing good, but knows he has a long way yet to go. The journey is not over yet.
Thank you again for all your support and prayers.
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