Meet the Team
The 50 U.S. State Speed Record team consists of five living kidney donors. Dave Ashley, Jodi Harskamp and Jay Irwin will climb all state summits. Emily Polet-Monterosso and Steve Wilson are support crew.
Dave Ashley, a retired Air Force Colonel, has a passion for the outdoors and endurance sports which has led to a long history of participating in ultramarathons, mountain bike races, and other outdoor adventures.
In 2017, Dave donated a kidney to a West Point classmate and Army veteran and the transplant was a success for both parties. After surgery he rode the 2,500-mile Great Divide mountain bike trail from Montana to New Mexico, won the 2019 Master’s division National Championship 30-hour adventure race, and completed several ultramarathons. In 2020, Dave donated a portion of his liver to an anonymous recipient and again the surgeries were both successful. Following donation he was sponsored by NKR to become the first living kidney donor, living liver donor, and double living organ donor to climb the Seven Summits, concluding with his ascent of Mount Everest in May of 2022.
Now retired from the US Air Force, Dave lives in Arlington, Virginia, with his wife and two daughters. He is currently a board member with several non-profits focused on living organ donation. Dave is also a frequent competitor in the Donor Games and a member of the National Kidney Donation Organization. He continues to enjoy traveling the world for new adventures and coordinates trekking groups in Nepal to Everest Base Camp.
Jodi Harskamp, a pilot whose sports of choice include mountain climbing and endurance events, survived a catastrophic house fire in 2010, prompting her to reassess her priorities in life. Although she was active in her community and lived a life of meaning and purpose through volunteering and mentoring, she became aware she was living and not thriving. She answered the call to donate her kidney to a co-worker in 2017.
After the transplant surgery, Jodi started to spend more time outdoors challenging herself by changing her mantra to ‘Why not?”. She has climbed three of the seven summits, completed marathons, Ironmans, XTRIs, ultramarathons, and recently climbed Rainier with her 12-year-old daughter while testing the limits of human endurance on one kidney.
Jodi has been flying airplanes for over 22 years and is currently a Captain for Alaska Airlines on the B-737. Less than one percent of airline Captains are women and Jodi enjoys breaking the glass ceiling daily. Her goal is to spread the message that everyone should do something for humanity which can never be repaid and you can live a full life after donating an organ.
Jay Irwin is an adventurous soul who is determined to inspire people through wilderness experiences. He enjoyed a rewarding 23-year career in the computer software industry before starting a business which led executives into the wilderness to find meaning and teamwork in their leadership. During this time, Jay was a part of the J.D. Edwards Bike and Ski teams and completed many endurance events including the Florida Ironman, 24 hours of Moab, six marathons and ultra-marathons, and numerous adventure races.
In 2008, Jay was caught in an avalanche that almost took his life and left him with a shattered pelvis and a broken leg with severed nerves and arteries. His friend Bill came to his rescue and saved his life, so when in 2019 Bill found himself in kidney failure he called Jay and said, “When we were at the bottom of that avalanche chute, you said if I ever needed anything to just ask. Well Jay, I need a kidney”. On November 1, 2019, Jay donated his kidney to Bill.
Since then, Jay has climbed Kilimanjaro with 21 other living kidney donors, has climbed all of the 58 14,000-foot peaks in Colorado, and has competed in the Donor Games.
Jay currently lives in Frisco, Colorado, and spends much of his time skiing, hiking, and biking around the world. He is a member of the National Kidney Donation Organization.
Emily Polet-Monterosso is a librarian who enjoys obstacle course races, Olympic-style weightlifting, and hiking. She donated her kidney in January of 2019 after seeing a plea advertised on the back windshield of her recipient’s car.
Donating her kidney is what put Emily on the path toward athleticism, as she had not previously engaged in an active lifestyle. In 2019, she became the first known kidney donor to earn a Spartan trifecta in the same year as donating a kidney. In 2021 Emily participated heavily in the planning and collective fundraising efforts for an advocacy trek to Mount Kilimanjaro. In 2022 she participated in that climb, and in the same year she also trekked to Everest Base Camp and Mount Kala Patthar and competed in the NKR-sponsored Donor Games championship.
Emily lives near Detroit with her husband and three cats. She is a member of the National Kidney Donation Organization (NKDO) and looks forward to having continued opportunities to show the world that a kidney donor who doesn’t come from a fitness background can still engage in amazing athletic endeavors and live a full and healthy life.
Steve Wilson is a CPA and financial planner who is also a triathlete and extreme adventurer. He became a non-directed kidney donor in February of 2020 and has been using his athletic platform to advocate for living donation ever since.
In 2018, a month before undergoing bilateral total knee replacement, Steve climbed Mount Kilimanjaro with his two sons, Ryan and Garrett. His vow to ”never climb that beast again” was short lived, as in March of 2022 he and 21 other living kidney donors together summited the hill on World Kidney Day. Good Morning America covered their trek and they are believed to be the single largest group of people with the fewest number of kidneys between them to ever summit.
Along with participating in several Organ Trail bike rides throughout the United States, Steve is also a five-time Ironman finisher. Most recently, he was an NKR-sponsored athlete while participating in the 2022 Hawaiian Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, with his two sons. Although the course got the best of Steve and he did not complete the race, he was able to witness first-hand the thrill of watching both boys cross the finish line.
Steve hails from Westchester, New York, where he lives with his wife and spends his spare time mentoring with the National Kidney Donation Organization (NKDO).