Inside the Stagecoach
March 5, 2015

Two Wells Fargo team members connect ‘Beyond Cancer’ — in Peru

Two team members, who are cancer survivors, were once strangers despite working on the same floor. After a life-changing trip to Peru, they have formed a close relationship.

Joseph Sabroski and Scott Olmsted like the same music, enjoy outdoor activities, and work on the 16th floor of the same Wells Fargo building in Minneapolis. But they’d never met — until they were about to leave for a trip to Peru.

The September 2014 trip was organized by Above + Beyond Cancer, a nonprofit with a mission to elevate the lives of those affected by cancer and to create a healthier world.

Joseph and Scott, both with Wholesale Banking, are lymphoma cancer survivors. They spent 10 days in Peru with about 30 people, including 15 other cancer survivors, caregivers, and Dr. Richard Deming, founder of Above + Beyond Cancer.

Scott holds a prayer flag from a Wells Fargo team member.
Joseph and Scott with the group in Machu Picchu.
Joseph checks out the view from a mountaintop in Peru.
Joseph and Scott with Dr. Leah Dietrich Ecklund, a caregiver and cancer survivor.
The view while descending Huayna Picchu.
Above + Beyond Cancer’s group participates in yoga in Peru.
Scott holds a prayer flag from a Wells Fargo team member.
Joseph and Scott with the group in Machu Picchu. Photo provided by Above + Beyond Cancer.
Joseph checks out the view from a mountaintop in Peru.
Joseph and Scott with another member of the trip.
The view while descending Huayna Picchu, which is considered a dangerous climb.
Above + Beyond Cancer’s group participates in yoga in Peru.

“The goal of the trip was to inspire cancer survivors and those around them by showing them that a diagnosis does not have to be the end of your life,” says Joseph. “In fact, it can be the beginning of an entirely new outlook on life. Through hiking the Salkantay Trail all the way to Machu Picchu, we learned just as much about ourselves as we did the fellow cancer survivors we bonded with. It was an exhausting and demanding endeavor, to say the least. However, by pushing ourselves beyond what we thought were our limits, we now know we’re capable of more than we think. And if we can climb mountains as high as 15,000 feet, how much easier will it be to take smaller steps toward a healthier life?”

On the trip, he and Scott discovered they have a lot in common. One night around a campfire, Joseph began singing and playing “First Day of My Life,” by Bright Eyes, on a guitar. Scott said it stunned him because it had been inspirational during his cancer treatment. ”It was a very big moment for me,” says Scott. “It just connected us from that moment forward.”

Since returning from their trip, Joseph and Scott have strengthened their friendship over lunches, plans to attend concerts, and participation in a fundraiser for Above + Beyond Cancer (more than 25 team members supported and donated to the cause).

“The bond we formed is pretty special,” says Joseph. “It’s turned into a great friendship.”

Scott concludes, “Two of us went on the journey, but others came with us in spirit. During the trip, we hung ‘prayer flags’ to honor and pay tribute to people affected by cancer, including several from team members at Wells Fargo.”

Read more about Joseph’s and Scott’s experiences in an essay posted on the Above + Beyond Cancer website.

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