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Rutherford County man takes on Mount Everest with group devoted to cancer research

Our Person of the Week, Kirk Wilkerson, is thousands of miles outside our viewing area right now. He's on a trek that's symbolic of the obstacles he's climbed in his personal life. (Photo credit: WLOS staff)

Our Person of the Week, Kirk Wilkerson, is thousands of miles outside our viewing area right now. He's on a trek that's symbolic of the obstacles he's climbed in his personal life.

Thursday, he took the journey to climb Mount Everest with the group Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma. Collectively, it has raised $375,000 for research, and Wilkerson has collected some $20,000 with the goal of paying it forward after the treatment he's received.

If there's one precious commodity we have absolutely no control over, it's time. In Forest City, the clock marks the passage of hours that add up to days, years and generations of pride.

"There's a lot of history here," Wilkerson said. "Lot of character."

Wilkerson said the old Farmers Bank building on Main Street gives him a rare sense of time and place.

"Really a cornerstone property here in Forest City," he said.

He and his partners are developing it into a multi-use property with office space and even a restaurant. New use for a space that still includes a bank vault from the 1920s.

The building mirrors the recent journey that's reminded Wilkerson what's truly valuable in life.

"I was training for a marathon, actually, prior to that and ran the Knoxville Marathon in April of 2016 and then walked into Lavine Cancer in Charlotte to find out my diagnosis," Wilkerson said.

During a life insurance exam, doctors discovered multiple myeloma, a type of cancer with no cure, which gave the married father of four troubling questions about time.

"You begin to do math in your head," Wilkerson said. "I have two daughters who are both 11 adopted from China. I'd really like to make it to their wedding."

Wilkerson said God told him to take part in a clinical trial, which lead to improved health and a bucket list opportunity. Moving Mountains for Multiple Myeloma raises awareness and money while giving folks like Wilkerson the chance of a lifetime. He's taking on Mount Everest with a group that's already reached the pinnacle of personal strength.

"So, I look forward to seeing Mount Everest. More importantly, it's been very important to be a steward of resources and something so game changing," he said.

The vault in the old bank building is symbolic of Wilkerson's new perspective.

"And just like this vault was the safety and security and provided stability to folks a long time ago when this was their bank, I'm blessed my wife Cindy is that in my life," Wilkerson said.

Between his family and faith, Wilkerson doesn't dwell on the time on the clock, living for the moment in every way.

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