Meet Our 2010 Climbers
On June 15, 2010, an inspiring team of women and men climbed the 14,179-foot Mt. Shasta in Northern California. With their own unique reasons for joining Climb Against the Odds, the climbers came together to honor the courage it takes to face cancer and to show that anything is possible if taken one step at a time.
Look back at their journey in pictures.
Karen Baltayan-Pautz–41, Mt. Shasta, Calif.
Karen Baltayan-Pautz joined the Climb Against the Odds team after being inspired and encouraged by individuals in the Mt. Shasta community, who educated her about the annual event and the Breast Cancer Fund’s work. Feeling unsure how she could personally help several family members and friends who have been touched by cancer, Karen saw Climb Against the Odds as an opportunity to bring awareness to the environmental causes of the disease and to advocate for big-picture solutions that support prevention. As a mother and children’s advocate, she is committed to helping with efforts to reduce the impact of cancer on our next generation of adults. Karen is also the Mt. Shasta community climber, and all of the money she raises will go back into the community to support Breast Cancer Services of Siskiyou County.
Joey Beauregard–49, Clermont, Fla., breast cancer survivor
At the age of 44, Joey Beauregard became the first woman in her family to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Having always led an active and healthy lifestyle, Joey began to question the possible causes for her diagnosis and if her breast cancer was linked to several other diagnoses in her community. Joey strongly believes that a nearby toxic waste site containing hazardous chemicals, including the banned pesticide DDT, is linked to the high breast cancer rates in her Clermont neighborhood. A first-time climber, Joey chose to participate in Climb Against the Odds to "be part of the solution" through supporting the Breast Cancer Fund’s work to identify and eliminate the environmental causes of the disease.
Elizabeth Bruno–51, Santa Rosa, Calif., breast cancer survivor
Elizabeth Cobb-Bruno’s experience with breast cancer began in March 2006 when she received the fateful call about her diagnosis following a San Francisco Giants' baseball game. Since that day, she’s tried to never look back and has viewed her experience as an incredible journey of love and friendship. She has also committed to accomplishing a physical and mental challenge once a year to benefit an organization working to eradicate breast cancer. In June, her drive will take her to new heights–the 14,179-foot Mt. Shasta–to support the elimination of the environmental causes of the disease.
Leslie Cobb–58, Santa Rosa, Calif.
Leslie Cobb-Bruno will climb Mt. Shasta in June in honor of–and alongside–her best friend, Elizabeth. The experience of Elizabeth’s diagnosis has had a profound impact on their lives, but they’ve gained perseverance, clarity and a new sense of what’s important. Leslie has also joined Elizabeth in annual outdoor challenges since recovering from breast cancer. For both of them, Climb Against the Odds will be a positive challenge that honors the strength Elizabeth needed during her treatment. Leslie also looks forward to sharing the incredible journey of Climb Against the Odds with a close team of women and men who have gone through similar experiences.
Hendy Dayton–50, San Francisco, breast cancer survivor
Hendy Dayton is the Breast Cancer Fund’s first chair of Climb Against the Odds. The 2005 expedition of Mt. Rainier was Hendy’s first mountain climb, an experience that she originally took on as a way to “give back” to her wonderful caregivers and supporters who helped her through breast cancer in 2003. However, in the end, she gained far more from Climb Against the Odds than she could have imagined. The bond she developed with the staff and her affinity for the organization’s work led her to recently join the Breast Cancer Fund’s Board of Directors, chair Climb Against the Odds 2010 and climb the mountain herself! Hendy is a partner at New Level Leadership where she is a leadership development consultant and professional coach.
Nancy Driscoll–60, Mt. Shasta, Calif., ovarian cancer survivor
Before joining Climb Against the Odds in 2005, Nancy Driscoll had climbed Mt. Shasta three times and trekked at high altitudes through Tibet. But she sought to climb Mt. Rainier with the Breast Cancer Fund with a higher purpose than to summit the mountain. Her mother died of breast cancer when she was just 16 years old, and after learning about the Breast Cancer Fund, she became passionate about understanding more about the environmental causes of the disease. In 2006, she joined Climb Against the Odds again to summit Mt. Shasta with her Rainier teammate Sherry Miller, who had gone through cancer treatment. In 2010, she will attempt to summit Mt. Shasta again with a new determination – to honor her own experience with the disease after going through intensive treatment for ovarian cancer in 2009. She will be joined by her friends and former teammates Linda Morton and Jamie Rosen, who climbed with her in both 2005 and 2006.
Geoffrey Gray-Cornelius–23, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
Geoff Gray-Cornelius learned about Climb Against the Odds through his mother, Janet Gray, a professor at Vassar College and the Breast Cancer Fund’s invaluable science advisor. The family was touched by cancer in 1984 and again in 1996 when Janet’s mother was rediagnosed. The experience inspired Dr. Gray to begin actively researching and educating the public about the link between breast cancer and environmental exposures. Geoff has sought ways to support his mother’s passion and chose the Breast Cancer Fund’s Climb Against the Odds as a way to help. Though the training, fundraising and climbing may be daunting, he is looking forward to facing and achieving these challenges.
Sarah Harper Burke–35, Cortez, Col.
Sarah Harper Burke will join the Breast Cancer Fund’s Climb Against the Odds as the first staff climber from Osprey Packs, a long-time sponsor of the annual mountain expedition. An outdoor enthusiast in Colorado, this will be Sarah’s first mountain climb, but she was motivated to join the team to become an active part of Osprey’s support of the Breast Cancer Fund, to meet and support her fellow teammates, and to challenge herself mentally, physically and emotionally.
Steven B. Heird–53, York, Penn.
Climb Against the Odds 2010 will be Steven Heird’s second climb of Mt. Shasta with the Breast Cancer Fund. While originally drawn to the event through his interest in the mountain, he joined the 2009 team with wholehearted support for the Breast Cancer Fund’s mission. A physician, Steven believes that in order to reduce occurrences of cancer we need a greater understanding of causation. On a personal level, he has lost two friends to breast cancer, an uncle to lymphoma and recently supported his father through treatment for leukemia. For Steven, the journey of Climb Against the Odds advances wellness and disease prevention, as well as furthers his own spiritual development.
Jennifer Kaplan–29, Oakland, Calif.
Jennifer Kaplan applied for Climb Against the Odds 2010 motivated by an opportunity to challenge herself while also supporting a cause close to her heart. In November, her mother-in-law was diagnosed with an early stage of breast cancer, and Jennifer chose Climb Against the Odds as a way to honor her experience and support the Breast Cancer Fund’s work to reduce the risk for others. She will climb Mt. Shasta in June, alongside her colleague Cait Norgard, as a staff climber for LUNA, the Breast Cancer Fund’s strategic business partner and sponsor of Climb Against the Odds.
Laura Lifland–37, San Francisco
In June, Laura Lifland will join her fourth team of breast cancer survivors and individuals touched by the disease in climbing Mt. Shasta with the Breast Cancer Fund. She originally became aware of the event through Climb Against the Odds trainer and Breast Cancer Fund Hero Cathy Ann Taylor, and through the experience, Laura has since become a passionate advocate and fundraiser for breast cancer prevention. Her 2009 climb was particularly meaningful because she had recently undergone treatment for cancer. In 2010, Laura will be climbing to honor the women in her life who have experienced breast cancer and to work toward reducing the risk for future generations.
Shanhong Lu–46, Mt. Shasta, Calif.
As a preventive and integrative medicine physician in Mt. Shasta, Shanhong Lu has seen an ever-increasing number of women diagnosed with breast cancer at younger and younger ages - many of whom lack a family history of the disease. In June, she will be summiting Mt. Shasta for a second time with the Breast Cancer Fund’s Climb Against the Odds to raise awareness and funding for breast cancer prevention.
Linda Morton–46, Seattle, Wash.
As a sales rep for ISIS, one of the Breast Cancer Fund’s leading sponsors, Linda Morton has known about Climb Against the Odds for many years, and after losing several close friends to breast cancer, she was inspired to join the 2005 expedition of Mt. Rainier to honor their courage and strength. She returned to Mt. Shasta the following year to summit with her teammate and friend Sherry Miller, who lost her life to breast cancer in May 2007. In June, Linda will return for her sixth Climb Against the Odds. This year, she will dedicate her climb to Lee Ann Holt. Through this event and other fundraisers, Linda has raised over $175,000 to the Breast Cancer Fund, and in April 2009, she was named a Breast Cancer Fund Hero, receiving the Andrea Ravinett Martin Strong Voices award.
Cait Norgard–24, Pleasanton, Calif.
When a close friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, Cait Norgard made a commitment to never take her health for granted. She chose to use the opportunity to become active in promoting the Breast Cancer Fund’s work to eliminate the environmental causes of the disease. Cait joined the Climb Against the Odds team as a staff climber for LUNA, the Breast Cancer Fund’s strategic business partner and a sponsor of the 2010 climb.
Terra Pascarosa–33, Virginia Beach, Va.
After moving to Big Sky, Mont., from her hometown in Virginia, Terra Pascarosa realized her true passion for the outdoors, and she became inspired to focus her career in geology and environmental science. Currently the owner of Terra-Scapes Environmental–a firm specializing in environmental advocacy, education, and event planning–and an active volunteer with several environmental organizations in the Chesapeake Bay area, Terra joined Climb Against the Odds to support the Breast Cancer Fund’s environmental health work, as well as to honor several important women in her life who have faced cancer. The impact of this disease on those close to her has reinforced how important it is to work toward prevention through eliminating the environmental causes of the disease.
Whitney Pond–16, Danville, Calif.
Shortly after finishing her junior year at San Ramon High School, Whitney Pond will join the Breast Cancer Fund’s expedition of Mt. Shasta. The second youngest member of the team, she will make the journey in honor of her mother, who died five years ago of breast cancer. Seeing her aunt Kristina train and fundraise to climb Mt. Shasta in 2006 with Climb Against the Odds inspired Whitney to choose this adventure of a lifetime as an opportunity to honor her mom’s experience and support an organization close to her heart. Whitney and her family have been longtime supporters of the Breast Cancer Fund through their annual participation in Peak Hike, a Northern California hike for prevention.
Jamie Rosen–30, North Bend, Wash.
Jamie Rosen returns to Climb Against the Odds for her third expedition with the Breast Cancer Fund after climbing Mt. Rainier in 2005 and Mt. Shasta in 2006. With two close family members recently diagnosed with cancer, the experiences renewed her determination to climb again, in their honor, and fundraise to support the Breast Cancer Fund’s work on prevention. In 2009, her brother-in-law was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and her mother-in-law was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Jamie also returns in support of her fellow teammate and friend Nancy Driscoll, who climbed with her in 2005 and 2006 and went through treatment for ovarian cancer in 2009.
Rebecca Shaloff–28, Washington, D.C.
Rebecca Shaloff’s mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer when Rebecca was in high school. While generations of women in Rebecca’s maternal family have faced the disease, she strongly believes that her mother’s diagnosis was also influenced by her environmental exposures, particularly to the powerful pesticide DDT while growing up in Israel. Motivated to join Climb Against the Odds in honor of her mother, who passed away in January 2009, Rebecca is also committed to supporting the Breast Cancer Fund’s work for prevention for her own generation and those to come. While expecting the experience to be difficult, Rebecca feels that this, like much in life, can be accomplished one step at a time.
Jane Small–51, St. Louis
Breast cancer has touched Jane Small through witnessing many friends and loved ones face the disease, including her best friend Jill. Through Jill’s diagnosis and treatment five years ago, Jane experienced breast cancer first-hand. The courage, strength and positive attitude that her friend displayed while going through this challenging disease has inspired Jane to train, fundraise and climb the 14, 179-foot Mt. Shasta in her honor. She also strongly believes that we can reduce the risk of breast cancer through eliminating toxic chemicals in our everyday environment, including in common consumer products.
Lindsey Stair–24, Burlington, Vt.
Lindsey Stair feels extremely fortunate to say that she’s lived 24 years free of cancer, but sadly, she’s been touched firsthand by this painful disease. In 2004, her best friend, Matt, was diagnosed with Leukemia shortly after they graduated high school, and Lindsey was there to support Matt through his intensive treatment and recovery. In 2007, she began dating Lee, who went his second major surgery to remove a brain tumor shortly after their first date. Lindsey continued to support Lee through multiple treatments and major surgeries that improved his condition; however, more tumors were discovered in January 2009, and Lee passed away in March. Finding solace in the outdoors, Lindsey chose Climb Against the Odds as a way to grow as an individual and become part of a community working to reduce the risk of cancer for future generations.
Cathy Ann Taylor–46, Sausalito, Calif.
A friend of the Breast Cancer Fund since 1997, Cathy Ann Taylor has been a team member and training leader on nine Climb Against the Odds expeditions, including Mt. McKinley (1998), Mt. Fuji (2000), Mt. Rainier (2005) and Mt. Shasta (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009), and has personally raised over $350,000 for prevention. Inspired by her grandmother and close friends who have faced breast cancer, Cathy Ann uses her strength to honor theirs. After 20 years of being a professional mountain guide throught the world, she started her own company, Cattara–Adventures with Insight, in early 2008 and recently brought an international dimension to the Breast Cancer Fund’s outdoor challenges with Sacred Treks, a program that leads participants on some of the world’s most celebrated hikes and raises important funding for prevention. To date, Sacred Treks has raised $182,000 for the Breast Cancer Fund. Cathy Ann has been recognized by Outdoormagazine for her volunteer efforts and by the Breast Cancer Fund with the Andrea Ravinett Martin Strong Voices award.
Ragna Thorne-Thomsen–39, Missoula, Mont.
Ragna Thorne-Thomsen was drawn to Climb Against the Odds for several reasons: 1) her mother is a breast cancer survivor, (2) she is inspired by the possibility of a world for her own daughter where we’ve reduced the high rates of breast cancer, (3) she wants to raise awareness of the environmental and preventable causes of the disease, and (4) she wants to jump into 40 with a good personal challenge. Ragna is inspired by her mother’s strength and determination to live well with cancer and is inspired to work toward preventing others from having to find the same courage.
Sara Thorpe, 52, and Elly Fike, 14–Kentfield, Calif.
At 18, Sara Thorpe lost her mother to breast cancer when she was just 46 years old. When Sara turned 46 in 2004, she chose to celebrate and honor her mother by climbing Mt. Shasta with Climb Against the Odds. Exhausted after summiting the mountain, she was met by her family including her enthusiastic 8-year-old daughter, Elly, who announced she wanted to climb Mt. Shasta some day. Now 14, Elly joins her mom in training for the mountain expedition in June. Together, they will climb in honor of Sara's mother, as well as Gael Casner and Sheila Bush, two of Sara's friends who have faced breast cancer. Sara just celebrated 20 years as a lawyer at Gordon & Rees LLP and is also on the board of First Graduate, which mentors and tutors students to be the first in their family to graduate from college.
Caroline Tice–48, Ballwin, Mo.
Caroline Tice will climb Mt. Shasta in June alongside Jane Small in honor of their close friend, Jill. Until Jill’s diagnosis, breast cancer had not been a big part of her life, but she has since experienced the wide-spread impact of the disease. While climbing in support of Jill, Caroline is also looking forward to the challenge and the accomplishment that comes from setting a goal and meeting it. She’s also excited to take on this opportunity with her good friend Jane.
Tom Wagner–67, Palo Alto, Calif.
In May 2009, Tom Wagner lost his wife of 40 years to breast cancer, after 15 years of facing the disease. Since her death, Tom has honored her life and spirit by backpacking 130 miles of the John Muir Trail, climbing a 19,000-foot peak in Nepal, and summiting Mt. Kilimanjaro in January. Even before learning about Climb Against the Odds, he had set his sights on Mt. Shasta as his next adventure, and in June, he will join others touched by breast cancer for an expedition on the mountain to honor the courage it takes to face the disease and to support the Breast Cancer Fund’s work to eliminate the environmental causes.