Tonya Dreher is the owner/operator of Hope Treks and has a passion for travel that began in childhood. As a young adult, she traveled to the Caribbean, throughout Europe several times, and visited the Middle East. She also lived, worked and studied for extended periods in Wales, UK and Poland.
Tonya worked as an English teacher, had a photography business and eventually had three children in her home, New Hampshire, USA. Her travel slowed down with the arrival of the kids, and even more so when her youngest son was diagnosed with a progressive and terminal illness. She and her husband started the Hope for Gus Foundation in 2010 to raise money for medical research for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
Life was consumed by fundraisers and the hopes of finding a cure or treatment for all people suffering with DMD
Then in 2014, Tonya began to ask herself if she could continue these local fundraisers forever? She also wondered, “Am I doing ENOUGH to raise money and awareness for this deadly disease?” She wanted to do something really BIG…and soon found herself googling “highest mountain in the world” and Everest to End Duchenne was born!
This inaugural fundraising event took place in October of 2015 and the trek quickly became a metaphor – the team was climbing to base camp of the world’s highest mountain for these kids who were LOSING the ability to walk.
Everest to End Duchenne was successful on a number of levels and a short documentary was produced about the trek, while plans were made for the second ETED.
Meanwhile, Tonya could not shake the irresistible bond she felt with the country of Nepal and the incredible people she had met there. She returned two more times in the next year, making connections and working with her guides on ways to help their poor, earthquake-torn towns and underfunded villages schools….and also getting some more treks under her belt!
It was obvious to her that her new friends, guides and porters in the trekking industry, were seldom able to find work and often underpaid for their hard, honest work. After months of soul searching and researching, HOPE TREKS emerged as a solution…a different kind of trekking company that funds medical research for Duchenne, pays a fair and living wage to its employees, and offers clients the trek of a lifetime at an affordable price!