During the week of Climb Against the Odds, the Breast Cancer Fund held the inaugural Virtual Climb Against the Odds, an opportunity for those at sea level to join the expedition to prevent breast cancer. Family and friends of climbers and supporters of the Breast Cancer Fund chose their own adventure for the week of June 21 to do in solidarity with the climb team. Among them was Sue Davis-Killian and several close friends of Jennifer Wilson from Florida, who agreed to climb one flight of stairs for every $5 donated to the Breast Cancer Fund. Together, they climbed 142 flights of stairs and raised $770! We asked Sue to write about her experience:
It was quite a shock to me and all of Jennifer’s friends when she was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. Although we all know the statistics, no one expects it to hit so close to home – especially not in the healthiest person in our group!
I had the honor of attending a few chemo sessions with Jennifer. She was so brave! It takes a certain presence of mind to quietly let nurses pump toxins into your body through a hole in your chest.
Like Jennifer’s other friends, I was looking for ways to show Jennifer that I love her and respect the vast struggle she endured last year. I seriously considered doing the climb at Mt. Shasta with Jennifer, but the realities of money, time, and children crept in. My next thought was that our group would have a get-together while Jennifer was climbing, so that we could send her mental thoughts of strength, energy, and love. That idea morphed into the idea of climbing stairs in solidarity with Jennifer. I was thrilled when I found out that there was a “Virtual Climb” option for Climb against the Odds.
What made our virtual climb successful in terms of fund-raising was that a bunch of us all used the same fund-raising page. I created a page that was appropriate for us all, and everyone forwarded it to family and friends. I think that if everyone had to create their own page, it just would not have happened. We agreed to climb one flight of stairs for each $5 donated. Since we were asking for only $5, it was easy to send to a lot of people, although most people who donated gave more than $5. People enjoyed the thought of us huffin’ and puffin’ on the stairs, and one friend donated $100 the morning of the climb just to make us climb an extra 20 flights!
We had a blast doing the climb, although a few climbers were disappointed when I told them that no, coming down does not count as a flight of stairs! They all doubted that we could do the required 142 flights of stairs, but we did it in about two hours. We planned it for the morning of the real climb, and stopped periodically to think of Jennifer on the mountain (and to rest and eat a donut!). We did the climb at my house. For part of the climb my two children, the 12-year-old dog, and the guinea pig joined in!
I can’t wait to do it again next year. I’m thinking maybe a media event, climbing stairs at a famous local hotel. I guess I’ll have to leave the dog and guinea pig at home!
Thank you to all of our climbers - virtual and actual alike - for your extraordinary commitment and support of the Breast Cancer Fund's work to identify and eliminate the environmental causes of breast cancer.