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Life Comes to a Halt

May 4, 2014
Prayer Flag carried to the summit. Photo by Karen Kilian.

Prayer Flag carried to the summit. Photo by Karen Kilian.

We all remember special days and dates: The birth of a baby, the date of an engagement and hopefully one remembers the date of one’s marriage! We also remember the day our life suddenly came to a halt and forever changed. For me, it was April 23rd, 2004. “It’s nothing; they think it’s just a cyst. Don’t take the day off work, I’ll be fine.”   Then the phone call came at 4:30 pm when I was at work: “Your mother has ovarian cancer.” Going to the hospital to meet up with my father and mom, I overheard my father telling my mother she had ovarian cancer, and her response: “Well, that’s not good.”

No, it wasn’t. And life came to a halt, and changed forever. Chemotherapy and an amazing 3.5 years of remission with happy times, Hawaii trips, lunch with friends.  Relapse 2008, more chemotherapy, surgery, and its toll was taken. My mother passed away January 1st, 2011 from ovarian cancer. Nasty disease as any cancer is. Thirty percent of women diagnosed with ovarian cancer will be alive 10 years after diagnosis. In other words, 70% will die within 10 years of diagnosis. Downright nasty.

Climb to Fight Breast Cancer committee member Karen Kilian, with her mother, Mary Jo Kilian

Climber Karen Kilian, with her mother, Mary Jo Kilian

Which is why I climb. Yes, my mother had ovarian cancer; and the Climb is all about funding research for breast cancer. However, as my mom used to say: “Cancer is Cancer.”  Funding research for breast cancer is bound to help others with other types of cancer; it all spills from one research bench to another. I have two friends with metastatic breast cancer who are alive today because of research.

At least I can help them…..

Climb a Mountain, Save a Life. I’m climbing Mt Rainier in August, which mountain are you climbing?

~ Karen Kilian

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