Prior to Climb Against the Odds 2010, we posted some thoughts from our team members as they finished up their final days of training and faced their upcoming climb. Throughout the week of June 13, the Breast Cancer Fund staff worked to keep you updated on the day-to-day experience for these women and men, but to give you a personal perspective from one of our inspiring climbers, we asked Rebecca Shaloff of Washington, D.C., to share her thoughts about the Climb Against the Odds journey:
As I began to settle in after my return from Mt. Shasta – exhausted from my red-eye flight home and drained from an amazing and emotional Climb Against the Odds experience – it suddenly occurred to me. I needed to write an e-mail to my colleagues.
They were going to excitedly greet me the next Monday morning with the big question: "so how did it go?" And of course, I would immediately read into this: "did you make it to the top?"
All the climbers had processed as a group what it meant that we had to turn around at base camp, and how it felt to instead summit as a team at 9,400 feet. Most of all, we actually felt those frigid winds and the prospect of falling over while trying to pee (true confession: one of us actually did)!
But I got a little nervous when faced with responding to the key question. However, as I started to write that preemptive email, the answers came easily.
First, I explained my theory on the severe weather. I told them how when the winds picked up, I suspected it was my mother's way of getting her baby off the mountain. My mom Eti, a breast cancer survivor who passed away in January 2009, didn't like it when I crossed the street, let alone trekked on a volcano. So I think that my mother conspired with Mother Nature to get us down to a lower altitude on Mt. Shasta.
And then I shared a collective theory on what it all means. One of our fellow climbers and an incredibly strong woman had to withdraw in the last minute due to a re-occurrence of cancer. We had dedicated the 2010 climb to her. Perhaps we were meant to realize that you can do everything right, whether it's train properly or live healthfully... but in the end, some things are out of our control. In other words, 'we plan, Shasta laughs.' This climb helped us, just a little, to put ourselves in her mountain boots.
Lastly, this experience was about more than the two days on the mountain; it was about one week where 24 climbers came together to heal and to honor, to reflect and to remember. For me, this journey actually began seven months ago when I first started to train and to fundraise so that the Breast Cancer Fund could continue its work and ensure there are fewer names to put on prayer flags.
I want to thank my inspiring fellow climbers, the dedicated Breast Cancer Fund staff, my generous supporters, loving family and of course my curious colleagues from the very bottom of my heart and the (near) top of a mountain.
Thank you for following the journey of these 26 women and men in their mountain climb for breast cancer prevention. You can now view photos from Climb Against the Odds on the Breast Cancer Fund's Flickr page, and you can still make a donation to a climber in support of her/his efforts!