Ollie Update & Miscellaneous News

August 22, 2012
Costa Mesa, Ca.

Dear Family & Friends:

Some of you have inquired about my Training Partner, Ollie. Ollie is doing well, although the episodes persist as part of his daily living. He has learned to adopt to his “new normal,” but he never complains. After my return from Everest this year, his episodes decreased in frequency and intensity. This is good news and bad news. The good news is obvious. The bad news is that our plan to admit Ollie to Stanford Medical Center is now on hold since the doctors need to see the episodes in order to run the appropriate tests.

Ollie, now 12 years-old, is getting big for his bicycle trailer–he now weighs almost 90-pounds. This makes for a good workout for me every Sunday, but soon he will not fit in the trailer. I’m really excited to report that I have ordered a sidecar for my Harley Davidson Road King Classic. My plan is to take Ollie on road trips. I want him to see all the national parks, e.g., the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Tetons & Yellowstone. He will love those trips as he likes to be outdoors moving really fast. The sidecar will be built and installed in Seattle, Washington. It takes about 3-months. In the next few weeks, I will ride my bike to Seattle and take the train home.

You can see the sidecar in the photo below. It is a replica of the sidecars Harley used to make before discontinuing construction of sidecars. The paint will match my bike (midnight red, pale gold, burgundy & champagne pearl). I plan to have “Papa & Ollie” inscribed on the side of the sidecar. In case you are wondering, the sidecar comes with a detachable windshield not shown in the photo. Isn’t it cool looking?

Sharon and I celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary in June. Our family took us bowling! Great fun for everyone. See the photos below. I told Sharon I want to take her on a 22-day European river cruise to celebrate our anniversary. We could not go this year because of concern over Ollie. So, we decided to go next year. I gave her the choice of which month for the cruise, all the while hoping and praying she would not choose May. Well, we start our cruise in Basel, Switzerland on May 12. Sigh. Everest is out for next year, so, health permitting, I plan to return to Everest in 2014 for another attempt at a double. It will do me good to take a year off, so I am happy.

Allan Smith, the documentary filmmaker, who accompanied me to Everest this year, is working hard on the film “8 Summits: The Bill Burke Story.”  He hopes to release the documentary in October. I am kind of nervous about the whole thing because I don’t think what I have accomplished is all that noteworthy. But, Allan produces excellent adventure documentaries, and I know he will do a really professional job. The latest movie trailer is attached.


I hope all of you are having a great summer.

God Bless You,



22 thoughts on “Ollie Update & Miscellaneous News

  1. Bill:

    So enjoyed watching the video and looking at the pictures of all your family at
    the bowling alley. Oh What fun! Well, what was your score? I am sure the
    whole family had a blast just being with you and Sharon on your special
    anniversary. Congratuations! Not many make it.

    Bobbie & John

  2. Always amazing! The Burke family is a fabulous American story–a love story, a story of inspiration, a story of family care, and a story of meaningful and purposeful accomplishments. A thrill, once again, to view the trailer Eight Summits: The Bill Burlke Story.


  3. Congratulations on 50 years my mom and dad will celebrate 51 on Sept. 3. My wife and I will miss your adventures on Everest next year. We will look forward to 2014.

  4. The motorcycle looks so awesome, I am sure Ollie is going to have a blast. Much love to all and hope to see you soon.


  5. Mr. Burke, what a legacy you are leaving your children and grandchildren! Ollie is going to have an absolute blast in the side car! I mean really, how many folks get to ride in such style?!!! Happiest anniversary wishes to your Bride and best friend. I am sure you will enjoy the cruise and The Mountain will still be there in 2014. Amazing to see how Ollie responds to your presence, the human connection is remarkable… designed by God Himself! Blessings to you and your very special family.

  6. Wow! What a beauty! May you & Ollie have many great adventures together as you have in the past, but now really first class.
    Congradtulations to you both on your 50th anniversary. I envy you your river cruise. I wanted to do that this year after hearing what a marvelous time Jerry & Linda had on there cruise. Have a wonderful time.
    Love & Blessings, Betty

  7. Mazel Tov! ( A form of Gaelic for Congtratulations). Lois and have you beat by 4 years (1958), but we’ll never catch up to your accomplishments.
    Special congratulations go to Sharon for putting up with listening to the constant soliliquies about your climbs.
    Sharon is the real hero of the story!

    Jay “same day” Foonberg ( referring to my finish time when I run races)

  8. Thank you for sharing this update! The sidecar is beautiful and I can only imagine the adventures you will have. The parks you mentioned are my favorite places on Earth.

    Congratulations on 50 years!

    The trailer is perfect…can’t wait to see the film.

  9. Congratulations on 50 years. What a wonderful example you set for your children and grandchildren and all the rest of us, too. I hope the European cruise is wonderful for both of you.

    The motorcycle sidecar is a terrific idea. I can’t believe you still bike with Ollie and he weighs 90 pounds. That’s amazing. Glad to hear Ollie is doing better since you returned from Everest. By the way, thanks for sending the t-shirt back for South Middle School. The kids love it as well as the picture of you wearing it at Base Camp. We love the trailer you posted and can’t wait to see the whole documentary.

    Again, best wishes on 50 years!

  10. Sharon, would like soooo cute taking a ride down our way. Remember our Red 1932 2 door, 8 cylinder Ford. Use to have so much fun on the 5 freeway, getting so many “thumbs up”. One of the neighbor boys and my son stole it one night, they too had a lot of fun!
    Enjoy your trips and Ollie will get so many “thumbs up” , the best time he will have in his life. Love to all. J.A.N.

  11. Wonderful post. Congratulations to you and your wife on your 50th wedding anniversary. Cruise next May, eh, me thinks you have a VERY smart wife!

  12. Congratulations on being back home, celebrating your 50th anniversary, and for doing something for Ollie. I know that all the adventures you mentioned to travel and share with Ollie will be an awesone one, as you are to him. So, 2014 it is! Can’t wait to see your documentary – you are too humble.
    May God bless you and your family always. /Lilly
    P.S. After recommending Nelson DeMille’s book, I’ve read a few more – his wit is really

  13. Awesome sidecar, really cool, I think Sharon should give it a whirl too. Looking forward to October when the documentary comes out, the trailer is great.
    God bless,
    Bill & CJ

  14. Bill, You are still AMAZING in so many ways! Congratulations on 50 yrs of marriage – Sharon is an AMAZING Wife & Mother (we’ve only met her through you!), you’re right, she does deserve a fine trip – on something other than a glacier :)!…Glad to hear Ollie is doing better…he is so going to enjoy his travels with you – maybe we can meet up with you two at one of the Nat’l Parks….The movie trailer is exciting – can’t wait to see more…if this starts touring, I can see you being very busy for the next few months as a guest speaker across the country! Let us know if you’re in CO vicinity. Hugs! Jill & Rich

  15. Dear Bill and Sharon:
    Congratulations on your 50th wedding anniversary! What a wonderful milestone for your beautiful and growing family. I loved the bowling picture…. where your kids still look like kids, so young and beautiful! My heart warms to the many memories of my parents and the Burke family on Tanager Drive. May God bless you all on your continued journeys in this wonderful life. As all vacations, I am sure your European cruise will match the adventures on the mountain, just in a different way. We cannot wait for the updates. Take care!

  16. Hi Bill,

    We met in Pheriche in May and since then I have been following your blog. Congrats on your 50th and the upcoming film. I will be paying close attention to the later! I am sure your training partner will absolutely love his new sidecar! I think it is fabulous that you are taking that trip with him. I will never forget my trip to Nepal with my Dad and I am sure he won’t either… after all memories are made to be shared with those you love 🙂

  17. My husband and I saw you at the United Methodist Church last week. Your talk was great and thank you for all of the pictures of the yaks. We are yak freaks. Also, thanks for your continued concerns regarding your grandson’s, Ollie, health and this quality of life. You are a great husband, father, and grandpa. Good luck on your continued training and your next climb.

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