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Paul Magelli, Sr. Lived Life to its Fullest

At my age, I realize that tomorrow is promised to no one. So many people are waiting for tomorrow to get here. But I believe you should focus on today. Make sure you live it to the fullest.

Paul Magelli, Sr.

June 28, 1930 – December 4, 2016

Paul Magelli Sr. climbed the highest mountain on December 4th, 2016. His life is being celebrated around the world and will continue to inspire greatness in everyone he touched. The stories of how he impacted so many people’s lives and hearts all have something in common—Paul was generous with his time and his love—always. He believed in us and was always there when we needed him. Paul planted many seeds in his lifetime; let us honor him by living well and passing good fortune to others.

As Merrell Magelli and Paul Magelli, Jr. said, “Heaven is a little brighter and more organized today.”

Paul’s family is planning a Memorial Service honoring and celebrating his life early in the new year at the University of Illinois after students return to campus. They will also be establishing a scholarship fund in his name. 

The Climb Team’s “Thank You” to Paul

A special thank you message to Paul from the Heart Climb team:

“Even though Dr. Paul Magelli, aka the ‘Heart’ of the Kilimanjaro expedition, wasn’t physically with us, his incredible mentality of perseverance, drive, personality, and 30 of his printed mugshots took us all the way to the summit. Thank you, Paul.”


Paul’s Post-Surgery Message

Paul had successful heart surgery today and is recovering in ICU at Mayo. Here’s his message to all his friends and colleagues and those following the climb:

Paul Sr. here—I am out of surgery and recovering from yet another life experience. I am deeply grateful to the incredible team of Mayo physicians led by Dr. Schaff who performed the surgery. The pillars of my medical counsel—my primary care physician, Dr. Alfredo Clavell and his dear wife, Dr. Maria Colazzo-Clavell, and Dr. Steve Textor and dear Martha Mangan, Mayo retiree—who are gifts to the profession and humankind. My rock of nearly 60 years Karolyn, my children, Dr. Merrell and PJ and the hundreds who have sent emails, text messages, posts on Facebook, etc., have me emotionally overwhelmed. Continue to pray for me; send strength and determination and I will be back in class in a month; back on the treadmill in a few weeks; and visions of summiting that elusive mountain. My love and affection to each of you who care for me.  


A Change in Plans

Dear Friends, Family, Colleagues and Climb Team,

This will be a bit of a shocker … but as I have adjusted emotionally, this sort of fits with the whole premise of the climb that I have worked so hard for over the last several years.

In the midst of my pre-climb evaluation and between 10 mile work outs, I was found to have two bad heart valves and more narrowed vessels in my heart than I should. While the cardiologists and surgeons scratched their heads to figure out how I could be so active and fit with the heart I have, it did become clear at this moment—the risks of me climbing are too great.

Thus, while the Magelli Heart Climb is off and running, I will be recovering from cardiac bypass surgery and valve replacement.

This is a tough one, but my vision has not changed, and I am going down this path so I may yet be able to summit this mountain after I get my revitalized “super” heart back in condition.

The project and study remains a passion of mine and the climb team. Our hope is to leverage the experience of this year’s climb to continue the study with a smaller, limited team within a year post surgery. So, if you did not get a chance to join this inaugural Magelli climb, stay tuned …

While initially devastating news to me, it is in the end, a part of the reason that many of us are in fact climbing. It is a challenge and a test of our character, resilience and desire and something that brings excitement to life.

Please keep me in your prayers … Monday will be D-day, but then I will be excited to follow the climb and hear the stories when the climb team returns.

Thank you, Paul