Updated: 01/11/2014 10:16 PM
Created: 01/11/2014 8:42 PM KSTP.com
By: Josh Rosenthal
Adam Warden is taking it one step at a time.
He spent Saturday in the AT&T building in downtown Minneapolis, where he walked up the 33 flights of stairs, took the elevator back downstairs, and then did it all over again -- for 12 straight hours.
"Just getting warmed up," he smiled about half way through. It's far from easy, but with Warden, few things are.
An endurance athlete for the last 14 years, Warden competes to raise money for children like eight-year-old Madison Meyer and 11-year-old Talitha Mueller, who both went to the AT&T building to show their support. They have Ataxia Telangiectasia, or A-T, a very rare childhood neurological disorder.
"It's really hard," described Madison's mom, Ashley Ellefson. "I have a 15-month-old, and it's really hard watching somebody lose the ability to feed themselves while you're teaching somebody else to feed themselves, and watching somebody learn how to walk and somebody lose the ability to walk. It's hard."
Warden is also fighting a battle of his own. In mid-June, after a storm tore through the Twin Cities, he was cleaning up debris in his backyard when a tree fell on him.
"Figured that I was probably going to be spending the rest of my life in a wheelchair," he said. He almost lost his foot. Months of intense rehab followed. But here he is now, walking up stair after stair, just six months later.
"I never would've imagined that I'd be able to do this again," he said, or at least not so soon. Things changed when doctors diagnosed Talitha -- who's already battling A-T -- with leukemia and diabetes.
"They're just the sweetest children and they take things in stride, but this has been a rough ride," said Laurie Kabes, Talitha's mom.
So far, Warden's raised nearly $2000 through his website, his goal is $5000. Money goes to help kids like Talitha and their families.
"Just live and love every day, so that's my goal and journey," said Kabes. Then she turned to Talitha, "right? We love people, we love every day. Every day we wake up is a good day. Every day we make it through is a good day because it's a hard journey."