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Measuring Success

September 28, 2011

Climb to Fight Breast Cancer committee member Karen Kilian, with her mother, Mary Jo Kilian. Mary Jo was an extraordinary ovarian cancer fighter.

How does one measure success?  First it needs to be defined.

According to Webster’s Dictionary: Success is:  a favorable outcome.   Success is:  a degree of measure of succeeding.  Success is:  an outcome, or result.

So, how do we measure it?

  1. By making your goal in fundraising.
  2. By training and preparing so well for a climb that it’s really not as hard as you thought it would be.
  3. By stepping onto the summit of a mountain in the early morning sunlight and being amazed that you are in fact, on the summit!
  4. By making a difference in someone’s life.
  5. By making it through chemotherapy to live, as in really live, another day.  Another week.  Another month.  Another year.

That is success.  This year with the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer, there have been a lot of successful summits.  Some teams had to fight their way through the wind and hold onto the team banner quite tightly.  Some teams were able to see the “summit triangle” shadow in the early morning hours.  The Mt. Shasta team gave it their all, but the mountain had the final say and while they didn’t top out, they did their best, which is in itself success.

People living with cancer know success.  Perspective changes when your life is threatened.  Success to a cancer patient may be making it through the next chemotherapy session without suffering nasty side effects.  Success to a cancer patient is hearing “you are in remission.” Their summit is your summit.  Only you just deal with hardship for a few days, they deal with it for a few months, or years.  As hard as you may think climbing a mountain is…’s easier than chemo.  Try climbing a mountain every week for 3 weeks, then have one week off; only to go for 3 more summits the following 3 weeks and repeat for a total of 6 cycles.  Not my idea of fun, I watched my Mom do it with grace.

This is why your success of making your fundraising goal, of training so well for your climb you are mentally and physically prepared; and of making a summit attempt at o-dark-thirty is so important.  Your success is making a difference in a cancer patient’s life.  You are enabling others to continue to enjoy the miracle of life.  Life without cancer.  It is possible.  You are their success.

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