Can two cardiologists and one heart transplant recipient brave the elements and cross-country ski to the top of the world? Dr. Heather Ross, cardiologist in the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, intends to find out this month as she travels to the North Pole.
Along with fellow cardiologist Michel White from Montreal and patient Dale Shippam, Dr. Ross is raising awareness about how common and devastating heart disease can be, raising funds to support life-saving research and encouraging people to sign their organ donor cards.
"It's an absolutely amazing feeling when you take three completely different people and have a common purpose and goal that binds you together," says Dr. Ross who is also Director of UHN's Heart Transplant Program.
On March 31, they'll pack up their 80-pound sleds and head for the broken, uneven ice of the Polar Sea. Dr. Ross anticipates it will take 10 days to reach the pole, skiing eight to 12 hours per day in some of the most extreme conditions the planet has to offer.
Once there, all directions point south and all lines of longitude converge. It really is the top of the world. The sun will be continuously in the sky, permanently above the horizon. In essence, time will stand still as no particular time zone is assigned to the North Pole.
"I've been to Antarctica so I'm not too concerned about the temperature," says Dr. Ross, adding that temperatures in the North Pole average −34 °C in the wintertime. "But if we run into a polar bear, then we're in trouble."
UHNews wishes the team good luck and invites you to check out Dr. Ross' blog at www.testyourlimits.ca for regular updates and photos from the North Pole.