Inspiration at 80

Rocking it out 80s style with Chicks Alumna Kris Machnick

by Elaina Arenz

One of the best things about Chicks is getting to know the women who attend our clinics. They represent a wide range of ages from teenagers to septuagenarians. There’s one woman in particular who has been a constant inspiration for me and who falls in the upper end of that age scale. While my own mom isn’t the adventurous type, Kris Machnick is the exact opposite. Kris isn’t afraid to get out and try new things, she pushes herself to her physical limit on the end of the climbing rope and in her life.

She immigrated to the United States from Norway, earned an MBA, and went to work as the Director of Finance for the City of Santa Clara. She’s married to a Lockheed scientist from the Czech Republic, has a daughter, a granddaughter with whom she is very involved, does crossfit on the regular and enjoys hiking the stairs with Balder her standard poodle. Not only that, but Kris has also kicked breast cancer in its teeth not once, but multiple times.

Kris is the definition of badass and there is no slowing her down.

So how does a woman like Kris choose to celebrate her upcoming 80th birthday? Well, she decides that she is going to do the #8for80 challenge. That’s right. Her plan is to climb 8 major climbs (rock, ice and alpine) and raise $100,000 for Parkinsons and Alzheimers research while she does it.

It’s a cause near and dear to her heart. Over the past few years Kris has lost several good friends plus a brother to these diseases. She is bound and determined to help fund research and discover preventative measures to stave off the onset of these lethal brain diseases. She believes that the key to mental health is physical fitness and having fun doing it.

So I sit here in the Lofoten Islands of Norway, Kris’s motherland,  awaiting her arrival to take on the next few climbs on her birthday ticklist. She’s also enlisted the partnership of another Chicks alumna, Diane Mielcarz, whose strength, wit, and wry sense of humor will no doubt contribute to the fun factor.

Please consider supporting Kris’ cause and donate if you are in a position to do so. Every little bit helps and this mountain is one to be climbed with a little help from our friends.

One of Norway’s blue lagoons. @Elaina Arentz