Said one Mt. Shasta climber who has summited three peaks with the Climb to Fight Cancer: “I’ve been on other trips, but the best people I’ve ever met are on Fred Hutch climbs.”
So true. There’s a natural bond between Fred Hutch team members. We instantly show up wanting each other to have the best possible journey. We want to help, support, laugh, and kick steps in sync. We look out for each other.
Every Fred Hutch climber has a story. Some choose to tell their stories and others store them on their hearts.
Karen climbs for her cousin, her friend, her mom and so many others she’s been touched by in her career as a nurse. She gives back daily, and yet signs up annually to climb a mountain and raise money for Fred Hutch during her vacation time.
Mark carries a photo of his Dad in his chest pocket, close to his heart, on every climb.
His Dad sat on his heart literally as he ascended the 4,000 foot West Face of Mt. Shasta. When he pulled out the photo on the summit, I could feel my eyes well up.
Tiffany considers herself an accidental mountaineer. She met her “Aunt Lynn” just a few short years ago for the first time, and hadn’t considered mountaineering before that time. Aunt Lynn is legendary Climb to Fight Cancer participant Lynn Lippert. Lynn’s passion for the Climb to Fight Cancer is contagious and it is no wonder Tiffany found herself on the side of a mountain after their lives intertwined. Her first climb was roped to Lynn on Mt. Hood, this year she climbed in Lynn’s place.
I’ve written about Lynn many times over the last decade. She is a three-time breast cancer survivor. I’m always reluctant to describe Lynn in that way, because I think her breast cancer is the least interesting thing about her. She’s an avid adventurer, world traveler, accomplished physical therapist, animal lover and book author.
When Lynn found herself unable to climb this year due to her cancer returning, she signed up as a CURE climber and enlisted Tiffany to climb in her place. There is no registration fee or fundraising minimum to be a CURE climber. You can sign up as a CURE climber and define your own adventure, pick your own activity or do nothing at all, which is what we sometimes refer to as a “couch fundraising event.” Naturally, given her energizer bunny status, a couch fundraiser was not an option for Lynn, so she enlisted Tiffany to climb 14,179 ft. Mt. Shasta. Lynn fundraised and Tiffany climbed.
Lynn was a part of our Mt. Shasta team in every way. She was at gear check and at the trailhead when we started. She was welcoming us back when we finished. We all wanted to do our best on the mountain knowing that Lynn would be there when we returned. Anyone can be a CURE climber, it’s a wonderful way to be involved with Fred Hutch and the Climb to Fight Cancer if life prohibits you from strapping on crampons.
Mt. Shasta is a magical mountain and the natural waters are thought to have healing powers. People travel from all over the world to visit this special, healing place. Our whole team was welcomed by beautiful sunshine and the experts at Shasta Mountain Guides.
Thank you for supporting our footsteps.
For more information about becoming a CURE climber, please email us today.
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.
Private support remains vital for scientists at Fred Hutch to continue pioneering life-saving research. Your investment makes a difference by improving the quality of lives, funding innovative approaches to prevention and advancing new research opportunities.
Thank you for making it happen.