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10 Tips for Breast Cancer Screening and Early Detection

April 21, 2014

10 Tips for Breast Cancer Screening and Early Detection

1. If you are over 40, get a mammogram. Early detection of breast cancer offers the best chance for a cure. The Seattle Cancer Care Alliance supports the American Cancer Society’s recommendation that women begin annual mammography screening at age 40.

2. Where you go matters – choose a mammography expert. Many studies show that doctors who specialize in mammography are more accurate at interpreting the images when compared to physicians with less experience. Get your mammogram read by a doctor who specializes in reading them. The American College of Radiology offers an online search for accredited facilities and “Breast Imaging Centers of Excellence” such as the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

3. Go digital. Centers that specialize in digital mammography are best for women with dense breast tissue and for women under age 50. Digital scans can do a better job of detecting cancer in these women than traditional film mammography.

Dr. Connie Lehman

4. Don’t put off screening because of discomfort. A mammogram should never be painful. Fear that the exam will be uncomfortable is one reason women put off scheduling a mammogram. To reduce discomfort, try to schedule the exam after your monthly period, when breast tissue is less sensitive. You may benefit by taking an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen before your mammogram. Above all, tell the mammography technologist about any discomfort you may be experiencing. They can work with you to make the experience more comfortable.

5. Don’t put off screening because of fear. Most abnormalities found after a mammogram are not cancer. However, in some cases you may be called back for more tests, such as additional mammography or ultrasound screening, to confirm that the area on the screening mammogram is normal. That’s why you may be asked to return for a follow-up exam.

6. Consider getting results while you wait. Particularly for your first mammogram, you may want to schedule your exam so you receive your results before you leave the imaging center. Or if you have found that you are frequently called back to your mammography center for a second scan, you can ask that your appointment include getting results to you while you wait.

7. Know how your breasts feel normally. Your health care provider can show you how to do breast self-exam. If you notice a change in your breasts, such as a lump or swelling, skin irritation or dimpling, talk to your health care provider.

8. In addition to mammography, have a regular breast exam by your health care provider. The American Cancer Society recommends that women 40 and over should receive annual clinical breast exams. Women in their 20s and 30s should have a clinical breast exam as part of a periodic health exam by a health professional at least every three years.

9. Know your risk.  If you have family members who have had breast cancer, especially a mother or sister, and if they had breast cancer before reaching menopause, tell your doctor, as your own risk of cancer may be higher than average. Some women at high risk may be recommended for annual MRI in addition to a screening mammogram.

10. Try an online risk calculator.  The Breast Cancer Risk Assessment Tool, designed by the National Cancer Institute, is a questionnaire to help women determine their chances of developing invasive breast cancer.

Learn more about Dr. Lehman’s research »

VIDEO: Tips for Screening and Early Detection

Everest Base Camp Trek Charity Expedition Logistics

March 29, 2014

Everest Base Camp Trek. Photo courtesy of Amy Centers.

Mt Everest Charity Expedition Logistics

Guide Service: Alpine Ascents International (AAI)
Minimum Fundraising Total: $10,000 USD


Explorers, travelers and climbers alike have long been seduced by the mythos and excitement of Mt Everest and the dynamic region of the Sherpa people. While the world’s greatest peaks — Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam — characterize the mighty Khumbu region, trekkers have the opportunity to explore its lower majesty. Along the way, trekkers are showered with impressions of ancient Tibetan Buddhism as we visit and learn from our friends living in these inspiring monastic communities. Trekkers will be guided by world-famous Everest climbers.

A reasonable trek for the very fit enthusiast, a journey to these sacred regions will offer a lifetime of impressions and reflections. Most days are nothing short of breathtaking while we walk amidst the Himalayan giants to the jingle of yak bells. Each corner reveals new vistas that transport our psyche further into the shadow of the daunting peaks.

Traveling to these regions with Alpine Ascents offers an uncompromising experience. We dare say that no other organization can provide the combination of expertise, intimate relationships with local Nepalis and knowledge of its mountains and environment. Our walking days will include much discourse on the peaks of the Everest region, architecture of Buddhist shrines, Sherpa Buddhism and first-hand climbing lore from the Everest climbers that lead each trek.

Like all our expeditions, we believe that the trekker should be lost in the world of mountains and travel unfettered by the rigors of food preparation, lodging and logistics. Alpine Ascents certainly offers the most comprehensive program available utilizing a distinguished staff of Sherpa, and a diverse assortment of quality meals. (Some of the food is flown in from the U.S. Although the local food is a part of our diet, we find a large variety of food helps keep trekkers healthy and strong).

Lodging & The Khumbu
We lodge in Sherpa villages, many of them remote, giving us a rare look into both traditional and monastic communities. Our lodging is usually in tea houses. While the environs are often primitive by western standards, they are balanced by the warmth and tremendous support of the Sherpa people.

Everest Base Camp Trek Itinerary

Day 1-3: Depart March 26: USA-Bangkok-Kathmandu. (Overnight in Bangkok and arrive on March 28 in Kathmandu.) Upon arrival check into the renowned Yak and Yeti Hotel, a cornerstone of the Kathmandu scene, and attend a welcome dinner with other trekkers and climbers. (Most trekkers use Thai airways via LA/Bangkok/Kathmandu).

Day 4: Kathmandu. From the centrally located Yak and Yeti we begin our exploration of Kathmandu. While modern by Nepalese standards, Kathmandu is a sacred city to both Hindus and Buddhists. Our tour is an important introduction to understanding the cultures which lay ahead. Kathmandu is prominently featured in both Buddhist scriptures and Hindu texts such as the Ramayana. Our tour includes the 3000-year old Swamayabhu (monkey temple), the great Stupa of Bodnath and the chaotic Hindu temple complex of Pashupatinath. This temple is home to many Hindu ascetics or Sadhus.

Day 5: After final administration requirements, we fly via Twin Otter to the landing strip in Lukla. Weather permitting, this flight offers outstanding views of the eastern Himalayas. In Lukla, we meet and join our Sherpa staff, load the yaks and begin the ascent to base camp. Our first day is an easy walk to lush environs of Phakding, located on the Dudh Kosi river. Hiking time: 3 hours

Day 6: We follow the Dudh Kosi, ascending 2,300 feet through Himalayan pine and Doedar cedar forests, to the celebrated village of Namche Bazaar (11,300 feet). The village of Namche is an historic trading post where Nepalese and Tibetan traders exchange salt, dried meat, gold and textiles. Besides being a superb place to shop for traditional crafts, Namche remains the central trading post in the Khumbu, attracting Himalayan and lowland merchants. Our group spends two days in Namche affording us the opportunity to acclimate, visit local markets and spend time with friends in town. On the hike we capture our first glimpses of Everest and neighboring peaks. Hiking time: 5-6 hours

Day 7: In the morning the group takes an acclimatization hike, gaining 1000 feet to take in the vista on the patio of the Everest View Hotel. In the afternoon we have time to visit sights in Namche Bazaar, including the Sherpa museum and local marketplace.

Day 8: Perhaps one of the most fascinating days of the trek, we travel to the village of Thame (12,464’), off the main trekking path. We have the unique opportunity of visiting the home of Lakpa Rita Sherpa, our Sirdar (lead Sherpa). His family has been a mainstay of this small community, raising yaks and farming. This gives us an intimate view of Sherpa culture while visiting a traditional home. Interestingly enough, a
number of famous climbing Sherpa have come from Thame. The ‘Thame’ experience is one rarely afforded to trekkers. Hiking time: 5 hours

Day 9: Waking early we climb to the Thame monastery and further explore local Buddhism. We tour this 400 year-old gompa and learn about its inner workings and the lives of its monks. As we tour the monastery we discuss the wall paintings and artifacts that are central to Buddhist practice. Before departure we will hopefully have the opportunity to meet and receive a blessing from the Thame Rinpoche (head priest). From Thame we walk to the beautiful village of Khunde (12,400′), one of the largest villages in the Khumbu and home of Sir Edmund Hillary’s hospital and school. The day’s walk is moderate and rather pretty, winding through thick cedar forest. Hiking time: 6 hours

Day 10: We continue on and climb to the village of Tengboche (12,683’), the cultural and religious center of the Khumbu. At the monastery we attend Buddhist ceremonies and rituals performed by local monks. Vistas from Tengboche are spectacular. The jagged peaks of Thamserku and Kangtega stand to our south as Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse and Ama Dablam are visible to the north. The Monastery at Tengboche is one of the most well-known in the world as the Rinpoche is revered throughout the Buddhist community and has authored a number of books and essays. In the past our groups have had an audience with the Rinpoche and received his blessing. Views from this locale (one of the finest on earth), include Kwangde 20,293 feet , Tawachee 21,457 feet, Nuptse 25,843 feet, Lhotse 27,883 feet, Everest 29,021 feet, Ama Dablam 22,487 feet, Kantega 22,235 feet, Thamserku 21,674 feet. We take time to visit the community Sherpa Cultural Center and excellent nearby bakery, and descend slightly to lodge in the village of Deboche. Hiking time: 4-5 hours

Day 11-12: We climb to the village of Pheriche (13,907 feet) which is not far from Dingboche (a village en route to Island Peak). Pheriche has become famous for its high altitude research center. The center attracts world renowned physicians who acquire data to analyze the effects of high altitude on human physiology. During our stay we visit the research center and learn more about the effects of high altitude on Himalayan climbers. Hiking time: 4 hours We also spend an additional day further acclimatizing and hiking.

Day 13: Above Pheriche, the character of the terrain changes, and we begin to understand the starkness of the high alpine landscape. Our path climbs the terminal moraine of the Khumbu glacier and continues to the settlement of Lobuje (16,174 feet), where we spend one night. This trail passes through a famous memorial which honors the many Sherpa who lost their lives in the high mountains. Lobuje is located on the flank of an old lateral moraine of the Khumbu glacier. Hiking time: 4-5 hours

Day 14: The trail winds past the Italian Research Center through the high tundra and glacial moraine to Gorak Shep (16,924 feet), the last inhabited area before Everest Base Camp.. Gorak Shep presents a rougher environment and gives the trekker the true flavor of the nighttime rigors of mountaineering. In the afternoon we take a short walk up the moraine to look down on the chaotic Khumbu glacier and take in the closeness of these renowned Himalayan peaks. Hiking time: 4 – 5 hours

Day 15: We leave Gorak Shep and cross the moraine of the great Khumbu glacier to reach Base Camp, which lies beneath the sweeping ridges of Everest and Nuptse. Everest Base Camp at 17,300 feet is a sprawling tent city set amidst glacial debris. Here the climbers begin final preparations for their ascent of Mt. Everest. We spend a few hours at base getting a sense of the community and meeting climbers before returning to Gorak Shep. During our visit to base camp we venture to the edge of the notorious Khumbu Ice Fall, and see climbers en route as they negotiate this complex maze of ice. Hiking time: 6 hours

Day 16: Waking before sunrise, we make an early ascent of Kala Pattar (18,300 feet), a small peak with excellent views of Everest, Nuptse and nearby Pumori. Many Everest photos are taken from the summit of Kala Pattar. We begin our return to lower altitudes and quickly feel the difference in our lungs. This night is spent in the village of Dingboche (14,450 feet), a stunning village of stone huts known as the summer village for local herders. The mountain views are outstanding from the Imja valley as Makalu stands in the distance. Hiking time: 6-7 hours

Day 17: Enjoying the downhill walks we take our time and return to Namche Bazaar. This seemingly remote village is suddenly a center of commerce where we spend the evening and morning shopping, drinking coffee, getting shaves, sampling food and enjoying all the thrills of “urban” life. Hiking time: 8 hours

Day 18: In the afternoon we descend the hill from Namche and enter the lower valley, returning to lush greenery and the Dudh Kosi river. This night’s stay is in Monjo, just at the head of the lower valley. Hiking time: 3 hours

Day 19: Our final walk to Lukla takes most of the day. In Lukla we begin the process of readjusting to the lowlands and prepare for the flight back to Kathmandu. It is a memorable night with much laughter and general merriment. Hiking time: 5 hours

Day 20: Early morning flight to KTM (weather permitting), and we spend much of the afternoon relaxing and enjoying the deluxe services of the Yak and Yeti hotel.

Day 21: Free time to tour the city including the temples and sites of Durbar Square and the Thamel section. Here we assist trekkers with their final shopping needs followed by a farewell dinner.

Day 22-23: Early morning departure for Bangkok. Arrive in U.S.

Everest Base Camp Trek Gear List

For a current list of required gear, please visit

Why I Climb – KOMO 4′s Denise Whitaker

March 11, 2014

Fighting cancer even when you don’t have it… meet a man on a mission to save the lives of women everywhere

March 3, 2014

Photo by Colin Stapp

Fundraiser Steve Ballard discusses his experience of surviving his wife’s fight with breast cancer and the people that inspired him to Climb to Fight Breast Cancer. Steve talks about his role in raising the necessary resources to end the unnecessary suffering for victims and families impacted by cancer.

Interviewer: So you said this is your first experience with Fred Hutch’s Climb to Fight Breast Cancer. How did first come across this organization?

Steve: Well, my wife was diagnosed with cancer two years ago in September. We had really fantastic doctors and specialists. I mean, just amazing doctors that really looked out for her in a very personal manner. After we got to a point where we thought we were kind of out of the woods, we knew what our journey was going to be, and I really felt it was important to pay it forward by becoming fundraisers.

Fred Hutchinson climb for the cure

Plus, I love to be outside. I love to hike and I love to climb. So I just Googled it. I thought, “There’s got to be something where you could do something for breast cancer research, and you can also go climbing.”

So I just started looking around and I came across this place. Climbs are held locally and it’s an hour and a half from where I live. So it all kind of worked out.

Become part of our mountain climbing community

Interviewer: Nice. So what’s been your impression of the climb organization so far? Have they been easy to work with?

Steve: They’re absolutely fantastic even though this is the first charity climb that I’ve ever done.  Everybody you work with, in terms of getting involved, have been great. Right after I signed up for the climb, the event folks reached out to me just to say “Welcome and thank you.” It’s a lot of motivation when you decide to participate that actually makes you want  to come back and do another climb. I’m going to try to do Rainier next year, actually. That’s my goal.

Creative Fundraising Ideas

Interviewer: That’s cool. So will you do your own fundraising in order to make that Mt. Rainier climb?

Steve: Yes, I will.

Interviewer: What kind of techniques are you using to raise funds from either your local community or your social circles?

Steve: Everything that I raised in the past came from friends and family, and actually a couple of the doctors that we know.  And my wife actually contributed as well. So I didn’t seek out any kind of corporate fundraising. I come from a big Irish family, so there’s a lot of people we could reach out to, and that’s what we did. I should have you read my page, because we really put a lot of effort into it.

Interviewer: Your Facebook page?

Steve: No, I created a climbing web page where I told the story of everything that happened during my wife’s battle with cancer, and it seems to really resonate with folks. Then I go and update my page every couple weeks or so. I’ve been busy training and getting ready for the climb, so that gives me more of a story to tell people about what’s going on with us.

My entire family reads it and it kind of encourages people to go out and contribute a little bit more. It’s actually amazing because in the last two or three weeks, I’ve actually raised a great deal of money. I hit my goal back in January. But we’ve just kind of kept pushing through it, and I think as of today, I’m real close to raising $3,700.

Thinking Outside The Box

Interviewer: I like it. That’s awesome. So at my company we do a lot of technology development, and a lot of marketing efforts. Is there anything that we can do for you to make it easier in the fundraising process; things such as education, widgets, or tech gadgets?

Steve: One of the things that I wanted to do was to include a business card when I send out Christmas cards, because we’ve got a big family. The card would include the address to my web page. But I couldn’t find anything in the resource guide where I could print out business cards. So I think, if there’s a way to put a link to a business card resource like that on the climbers’ page, it would be really useful.

Climber Steve Ballard during snow school on Mt. Hood.

Climber Steve Ballard during snow school on Mt. Hood. Photo by Colin Stapp.

Because that’s what I ended up doing on my own. I just kind of made my own and put them in with my Christmas cards, so it was another way to remind people. It’s a good time of year to ask people to support the cause. I think that would really work because I’m not the kind of person who likes to go and ask people for money. That’s really hard for me to do.

So that’s sort of a non-pressure way to raise money without calling people up or constantly sending them an email. Just stick it in the greeting card at Christmas time.  Like I said, that’s usually the season when a lot of people handle their annual charity donations.

Starting Snow School

Interviewer: So this is your first time with this organization and this is your first time on Mt. Hood. Can you tell us about the snow school? Was that an educational process for you? Was that a challenge? Are you feeling better after taking the class?

Steve: I haven’t taken snow school before, per say, but I’ve been in a couple of climbing schools because I’ve done a couple of other climbs.

There’s a buddy of mine that and we’ve done some other hikes together. But this is the first time we’ve ever done anything that’s specifically snow school. It was great. I mean, I think it’s tailored around the right mix of people, because obviously you’ve got some folks who have done all kinds of stuff.

But I think it kind of hits the middle spot between folks that are new to this and those who are more experienced. I’ve seen this before where you go to other places where, if folks are experienced, they might shrug their shoulders or kind of look down on those who are somewhat new. It can be kind of intimidating for beginners.

But you know I never saw any of that kind of thing with the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer group. Everybody really bonded, and everyone was helping each other out. Lots of great tips were being passed back and forth. So, yeah, the snow school is great. It really is.

Underlying Motivations

Interviewer: So Steve, can you please share what truly motivated you to participate in the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer?

Steve: Well everyone from the radiologists to the surgeons to the plastic surgeons and the nurses inspired me to participate.  I have never before seen the level of care or understanding they provided. Again, what was most important to my decision is that I felt a need to pay it forward, because I’m sure that not everyone has the same positive outcome we did.

The main point is simply to raise awareness while you’re raising funds. One of the things I read on the website was about the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and some of the fantastic things they’ve done. They have three Nobel Laureates, I think. They started with bone marrow, then transplants and they’ve pioneered a lot of new breast cancer treatments. I mean there’s just  some really incredible stuff.

From a personal standpoint, I was reading about the guy, Fred Hutchinson, who the Center is named after. I think it was his brother who actually  started it in his name, because his brother died of cancer. I mean it kind of hit close to home, and I put that in one of my blogs.

But to answer your question, raising more money is a way to make sure that we can find a way to get rid of this disease, because it’s awful. Secondly, we need to support more doctors and nurses and radiologists like the ones that we met. If my efforts helps to get that done, even if that’s just through awareness, so be it.

Mt Shasta Charity Expedition Logistics

February 24, 2014
Mt. Shasta. Photo by Colin Stapp.

Mt. Shasta. Photo by Colin Stapp.

Mt Shasta Charity Expedition Logistics

Elevation: 14,179 feet
Guide Service: Shasta Mountain Guides (SMG)
Minimum Fundraising Total: $3,000.00


Mt Shasta is the second highest volcano in the United States, and its base is more than 17 miles in diameter. Considered a major peak of the Cascade mountain range, this magnificent mountain lures people from all over the world as a premier climbing destination. In northern California, this beautiful mountain rises high above the rugged peaks around it to provide climbers with breathtaking views. Eight superb glaciers, California’s largest, adorn its flanks and are complemented by splendid meadows of wildflowers, groves of Shasta Red Firs and numerous mystical legends. We climb the Avalanche Gulch route which is considered non-technical, so climbing Shasta is within reach for any individual who is physically fit, mentally prepared and determined to adapt his or her skills to the varied environment.

Physical conditioning

In the best interest of personal safety, success and team compatibility, adequate training is required. Climbers must be able to carry an average of 45 pounds or more and be not only physically but also mentally prepared to deal with strenuous situations.

Tents Equipment and Meals

Provided: All group climbing equipment: climbing ropes and technical hardware, meals and tents.
Not provided: Personal equipment. You are responsible for all items on the gear list. Transportation is not provided for this climb. Climbers will need to provide their own transportation to the trailhead.

Mt Shasta Climb Itinerary

Below is an itinerary for the 3-day John Muir/Avalanche Gulch Route mountaineering climb. Please keep in mind that the projected itinerary and route starting at the Bunny Flat trailhead may vary due to weather and climbing conditions.

Day 1: Meet guides and group at the Fifth Season outdoor store located at 300 N. Mt. Shasta Blvd. Please be punctual to allow time for gear rentals, packing, and a group briefing with your guides. Please note: your guides will do a thorough gear check and pass out group gear before you pack your backpacks. In addition, we recommend that you reserve your rental equipment through the Fifth Season.

Drive to the Bunny Flat trailhead (6950 feet) for a group briefing and start the approach to base camp at Horse Camp (8000 feet). Depending on weather and trail conditions, the moderate/ low angle approach to base camp may take anywhere from 1.5 to 2 hours.

Snow School: Topics covered include fundamental climbing techniques, ice axe and crampon use, team rope travel, and team arrest.

Day 2: We will hike to approximately 10,000 feet and set up our high camp near Lake Helen. Weather permitting, we will continue with an additional skills session.

Day 3: Summit Climb and return

Mt Shasta Climb Gear List

Below is a comprehensive clothing and equipment list for our 2-4 day summit climbs. For your safety and comfort, please follow these guidelines diligently. Every item on the list is required. Weather extremes may range from 0 degrees F to 70 degrees F. Versatility is the key to dressing properly, and layering allows you to do this efficiently. To avoid overburdening yourself with extra weight, bring only that which is necessary. Locally rentable items are marked with an *. Contact The Fifth Season at 530-926-3606.

If you have questions about what to bring, leave behind, or equipment in general, please call or e-mail us. In addition, The Fifth Season outdoor store in Mt. Shasta is staffed with experienced outdoor enthusiasts who are well versed in the latest equipment available, and can provide sound advice on purchase and rental information.

  • Mountaineering boots*: Plastic or Leather. Must be crampon compatible. Hiking or backpacking boots are not adequate.
  • Crampons* Suggest: Black Diamond Contact
  • Ice axe* Suggest: Black Diamond Raven Pro
  • Climbing Helmet*
  • Expedition backpack*: 5,000 cubic inch, internal frameSleeping bag*: Synthetic or down, rated to 20 degrees F minimum
  • Sleeping pad*: Thermarest or closed cell foam pad
  • 1 locking carabiner: Suggest: Black Diamond Miniparabiner
  • 2 pair Hiking Socks: Wool or Synthetic lightweight
  • Underwear: Briefs & Bras must be synthetic material
  • Base Layer Bottom: Patagonia Capilene, wool or other synthetic
  • Base Layer top: Capilene, wool or other synthetic
  • Light or medium weight sweater: Fleece or wool
  • Water-resistant shell pants: Hard or soft shell, leg zips helpful
  • Water resistant shell parka: gore-tex or similar type, non insulated
  • Insulated Jacket: Required: Down or synthetic fill
  • Gaiters*: Mid-calf
  • Fleece or Wool hat: warm & covers ears
  • Brimmed Sun Hat: Cap or other
  • Shorts: Late spring and summer
  • Lightweight Liner Gloves. Soft shell or fleece
  • Insulated Gloves: Waterproof ski or mountaineering style
  • Water bottles: 2-3 Nalgene (other types tend to freeze and break)
  • Eating utensils: Cup, bowl, spoon only
  • Headlamp with fresh batteries
  • Sunglasses: glacier type with side protection ~ important
  • Sunscreen and lip protection: 25 SPF minimum
  • Personal kit: Small quantity of toilet paper and towelettes, toothbrush, blister kit, matches/lighter, pocket knife, etc
  • Light accessory cord: 10-20 feet (for broken shoelaces, etc.)
  • 1 large garbage sack
  • Snacks: Food for climb days. Variety of small portions of fats, sweets, carbs, and proteins
  • Trekking/ski poles*: Highly recommended for approach hike

Optional Items

  • Camera: Optional, but well worth bringing
  • Camp shoes or booties: Teva type sandals or light sneakers, booties for winter and spring use

Outsmarting Cancer Cells

February 14, 2014
Mt. Olympus, August 2013. Photo by Colin Stapp.

Mt. Olympus, August 2013. Photo by Michelle Miller.

As too many of us know, cancer cells love to create havoc.  A friend of mine recently said the cancer cells will fight to survive and try to outlive everything else in their way.  Essentially, it is a fight to the death.  This isn’t so far off from the truth.  The game is to outplay, outwit and outlast them.  It is the other game of Survivor but in your body—not on a deserted island somewhere.

Cancer treatment is similar to the Hunger Games books and movie series.  For those not in the know, the Hunger Games is about a country that keeps its civilians in the non-revolutionary mode by drawing names of a boy and a girl, ages 12 to 18, from each of the districts within the city to fight in a duel to the death.  Yes, children.  They are trained to fight, they go to a location that is essentially like being on a movie set with all sorts of special effects, is televised to the public and do indeed fight to the death with one survivor left.  It does sound wild, and it is wild and shows how people will use their power to do evil as opposed to good.  The goal of chemotherapy, radiation, surgery (which at times seems like evil); is to create the one survivor:  The patient.  Cancer cells are smart, much like Katniss in the movie.  She was able to outplay the game, and win with her smart mind, keen eye and sharpshooting skills with a bow and arrow.  The job of researchers is to outwit the cancer cells, but those cells keep getting smarter, creating the need for deviations from the plan.

My friend is alive today because research has developed new methods of treatment and new medications.  She is outliving, outwitting and outlasting the cancer cells in her body.  My cousin, Robin, was not so fortunate.  A mere 5 years were between Robin’s diagnosis and my friend’s diagnosis and look what the difference in time has created.  A CT scan that once lit up like a Christmas tree is now dark and quiet because of the compassionate use of a new therapy that my friend received.  That therapy was not available a mere 3-4 years ago.

A new lease on life, priceless.

Go Seahawks!

February 2, 2014
There is 12th man beast mode everywhere this weekend.

There is 12th man beast mode everywhere this weekend.


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