When I came to the Seattle area in 1994, I never thought I would climb mountains. I hadn't really hiked before, although I loved looking at the tall peaks. The only camping experience I had was a few hours in a bedsheet tent in our backyard until we were scared inside by strange noises. The idea of backpacking, carrying all my necessities on my back, had never even crossed my mind. Then, I visited a used book store and picked up a hiking book. After my first real hike, which gained 3100 feet in 4 miles, I was hooked. I loved the views from up high. I took my first backpacking trip two years later and it was fantastic. For many years, I was content with hiking, backpacking, and scrambling. The idea climbing with ropes and crampons really didn't interest me. I felt in control backpacking, but the idea of climbing scared me. It was out of my comfort zone.
Fast forward to 2006. That year, I was convinced to climb to the top of Mt. Baker in support of breast cancer research at the local Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. I raised over $3000 and I got to the top of my first real mountain.
Since then, I have climbed Mt. Rainier twice, Mt. Olympus, Mt. Shasta, (we did not summit), Iztaccihuatl (Mexico), Pico de Orizaba (Mexico), and Mt. Kilimanjaro (Africa), and for the breast cancer cause. Even without reaching the summit, each climb has been a success. Through my climbing, I have raised almost $70,000.
2013 will be my eighth year climbing with the climb to fight breast cancer. I'll be climbing Denali this year, the peak I had to planned to do in 2012 but had to put off due to my new job. At 20,320 feet high, it will be the tallest peak I've tackled. And, due to its location in Alaska, the coldest and most challenging. We will spend three weeks on the mountain on this expedition.
2013 will be my first year climbing as a survivor.
After almost ten years of living with the knowledge that I was BRCA 2 positive, it wasn't a huge surprise that in the summer of 2012, I was diagnosed with DCIS, a non-invasive form of breast cancer. Fortunately, my breast cancer was caught very early and my prognosis is excellent. The reason for such good news? The advances in the early detection of breast cancer due to research at facilities such as The Hutch.
My breast cancer was discovered through an MRI one month after a mamogram showed nothing. MRI technology is the cutting edge of breast cancer research, and funding for this research has come directly from your support of these climbs. Truly, I am reaping the benefits of my fundraising.
Thank you so much for your support and encouragement throughout the years. Together, we can effect change through research.
My Climb Journal
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