“Off Belay: A Last Great Adventure” marks the culmination of Jamie Shumway’s lifelong adventure. The former associate dean for Medical Education in the School of Medicine was first captivated by nature on a school trip to Yosemite. He devoted the rest of his life to the outdoors and to recreational pursuits, first in California and then in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where he received his master’s and doctoral degrees, and finally at West Virginia University, where he pursued a distinguished career in medical education for over 20 years. In addition to his professional pursuits, Shumway worked to protect rivers and other natural spaces in the State of West Virginia through citizen advocacy.

In 2012, Shumway retired from WVU earlier than planned to take on a new, important challenge with a serious illness, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. While enduring his physical decline due to this degenerative disease, he began his last great adventure – writing a memoir to share his experience about learning to live with purpose while coping with a disabling disease.

Throughout the course of the book, which is told in stories, Shumway sifts through the professional and personal events of a life well lived. Much of it had been lived outdoors: white-water boating, skiing, mountaineering and rock-climbing. He kept smiling and enjoying each day until the last on Friday October 10, 2014.

More information about his memoir can be found here: