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Mt. Rainier Summit – What I Didn’t Know Then

August 27, 2019

By Marina Rockinger, KOMO News radio, Seattle


KOMO’s Marina Rockinger on the summit of Mt. Rainier on July 21, 2019

Exactly 1 month ago today, I stood on the summit of Mt. Rainier (14,410 ft).

I climbed with the Climb to Fight Cancer, benefiting Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

I was climbing for my sister.

I was climbing for my mother-in-law.

But, what I didn’t know?

I was climbing for me.

Exactly ten days after I stood triumphantly on the sunny summit of Mt. Rainier, Washington state’s highpoint, I was diagnosed with breast cancer.

My sister, Trina, battled Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma for eight years. She was told last Friday that she is in remission. When we heard this wonderful news, my husband and I fell into each other’s arms. We were each crying with visceral joy.

My mother-in-law, Marsha, is deep in her fight with pancreatic cancer. She is enduring months of chemotherapy, readying her body for a major surgery sometime this Fall.

I am now in that fight too. My climb, as it turns out, could not have been closer to a version of irony that I can think of.

Specifically, Invasive Lobular Carcinoma is in my left breast. It’s also in my lymph nodes.

During all the years (originally for only breast cancer) I’ve raised money to cure cancer faster at Fred Hutch, who knew I would ultimately be climbing for myself, too?

I believe everyone who has said to me, “you are strong. You will beat this.” I am and I will.

Also, I have a sick sense of humor, so I have decided I need a T-shirt that reads:

“I climbed Mt. Rainier, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt. And cancer.”

You can follow the inspiring, brave (and very funny) Marina Rockinger on our Twitter and Facebook pages. We will be sharing her posts and progress, as she shares publicly. Marina has climbed Mts. Baker (twice), Hood, Shasta and Rainier with the Climb to Fight Cancer. She also served on the Climb to Fight Cancer Committee.


Marina Rockinger (fifth from right) and her Climb to Fight Cancer team summiting Mt. Rainier 

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