Let the climb begin!
Climb Against the Odds has officially started and in just two days our inspiring 2014 team will set off to climb this beauty.
In the meantime, our climbers have been keeping busy undergoing last minute training, bonding with their teammates and exploring the Shasta wilderness.
Some team members arrived at Mt. Shasta on Saturday for snow school, which is one of the prerequisites for climbing the mountain. Our wonderful guides Chris and Jen Carr at Shasta Mountain Guides teach people an introduction to climbing on snow. Climbers learn to use ice axes, crampons, and they learn self arrest skills.
Katie Bernell, who works in sales at Clif Bar & Co., is climbing in honor of two breast cancer survivors in her family: her grandmother and her aunt.
"Women may not be able to fully control their odds against this disease, from a genetic sense, however we do have the power to speak louder and create higher standards on what we put in our bodies, the chemicals we use in our beauty regimens, and the toxins that surround us in our homes and the world we live in."
The next day a group of climbers, supporters and Breast Cancer Fund staff explored the Shasta wilderness.
Sunday night marked the welcome ceremony. Speakers included Mt. Shasta Mayor Tom Moore, Forest Ranger Jonathan Dove, Breast Cancer Fund President & CEO Jeanne Rizzo, the amazing breast surgeon and Breast Cancer Fund board member, Dr. Susan Kutner, and board chair Ellen Kahn, who told a story about our organization's founder, Andrea Martin, who, weeks before her death, gave a symbolic talisman to Ellen as she prepared to climb Mt. Shasta as part of the 2003 Climb Against the Odds team.
Each year two climbers are chosen to carry the talismans - crafted of jade and glass, symbols of our strength and fragility - up the mountain, often passing them along to teammates when the original bearer has been unable to continue up the mountain. This year Jill Zastko and Dr. Elizabeth-Marie Ramas will carry these heirlooms.
Jill Zastko, a breast cancer survivor, is climbing to honor her friend Stacy Reynolds, who lost her own battle with this disease in July of 2013, at the age of thirty.
Dr. Ramas is climbing for her mother, Colette Bistoury, who died last yearfrom an aggressive form of lymphoma and her loving aunt, Brigitte Bonny, who is currently in remission from breast cancer.
“People are raising money, pressing for a cure, but a cure is not being developed quickly enough,” Zastko said. “We need to go beyond the cure and talk about preventing the disease from developing in the first place.”