SUMMIT on Mt. Hood
It was a rare day on Mt. Hood.
The night was windless. The Oregon sky clear and cloudless, the sync of the climbing team flawless.
Every climber and guide summited last weekend with the Climb to Fight Cancer.
The more mountains I climb, the more I notice that Climb to Fight Cancer adventurers usually have a shared synchronicity, a shared outlook on life and a goal that binds us.
This year’s Mount Hood team included two nurses, a cancer surgeon, a cancer researcher, a high school teacher and Fred Hutch supporters. Every person on the team shared a personal connection to this awful disease. Our guides shared poignant memories of how cancer has affected those they love. The more years we put at our backs, the more people we know and love are hit by cancer.
While kicking steps into the snow and ice up that last, oh-so -steep 700 feet on Mt. Hood, I thought of all the names on my prayer flag. I could recite every one of them to you now. The list grows longer every year, but due to advances made in research in recent years, survivors have more options than in years past. One of my dearest friends was diagnosed a year ago with metastatic breast cancer. Her doctor shared that she had a full arsenal of treatment options and they are still on the first one (which is showing promising results).
I climb because I never want that arsenal to run dry. I hope every friend, family member, and those I’ve never met, have the best tools available to them in a cancer fight. I heard a survivor describe it one year at Mt. Hood saying that when the pill she was currently taking had run its course, she climbed so that another pill would be available. We’re making progress, yet still climbing.
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