Meet the 2012 Climb Against the Odds Team
This inspiring team of women has taken on the challenge of climbing Northern California's 14,179-foot Mt. Shasta for breast cancer prevention. Each climber honors the courage it takes to face breast cancer and their loved ones touched by the disease. Together, they prove that anything is possible if taken one step at a time. Learn more about Climb Against the Odds and read about the team's journey on our blog.
La Dawn Beardsley—Brighton, Colorado
La Dawn adds the 2012 Climb Against the Odds to her long list of mountaineering experiences. In 2010, La Dawn summited Mount Rainier, a lifelong dream. La Dawn credits her mother, who passed away in 2010, with instilling in her a love of mountaineering. In 1999, just as her mother was finishing treatment for breast cancer, La Dawn learned of the Breast Cancer Fund’s Peak Hike at Mt. Crested Butte, and she and her mother summited together. La Dawn’s long association with the Breast Cancer Fund and her longtime commitment to participating in outdoor and mountaineering events honor her mother’s courage and continue her goal to support funding for research and a safer environment.
Pam Bennett—San Francisco, California
Pam sees opportunity in the Climb Against the Odds experience: she seeks to learn from her fellow climbers while embarking on a physical challenge. She chooses to honor and support two important women in her life, an aunt and a cousin, who are facing breast cancer. Though not a mountaineer, Pam brings a lifelong love of the outdoors to the climb. Pam is a Senior Communications Manager for The North Face, a major gear sponsor for this year’s climb.
Jennifer Bray—Grenada, California
Believing that Prevention is key, Jen joins Climb Against the Odds in honor and memory of family members who faced cancer. Inspired by stories of cancer survivors climbing mountains for prevention, Jen is motivated to reach as high as she can to raise money for the Breast Cancer Fund’s mission and work. Jen is passionate about healthy living, leading her family by example to healthy choices in their home and environment. Though Jen is not a mountaineer, she makes her career in the mountains as a firefighter for the US Forest Service in Siskiyou County. She’s not afraid of hard work, as a mountain climber or as a fundraiser!
Blair Brown—Santa Barbara, California
In 2000, when Blair was in high school, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was an experience that shaped their relationship as Blair took on a support role for her mom. Women on both sides of Blair’s family have faced cancer, and Blair says it seems she has always been conscious of health and the effects of cancer on women. Having been raised in the mountains, Blair has a deep respect for the environment as a contributing factor to the fullness of life. At the core of conservation, she believes, is the empowerment of the individual human, and in the Breast Cancer Fund she finds a parallel philosophy, rare in organizational missions. Blair is an avid athlete—she is an experienced skier and rock climber who includes biking, hiking and running in her weekly routine. With the Climb Against the Odds, Blair believes she can connect the dots among her own personal challenges while working towards the greater good.
Christine Bunting—Emeryville, California
Christine is one of two staff members from the Breast Cancer Fund’s strategic business partner, Clif Bar & Company, to join the 2012 Climb Against the Odds. For Christine, this journey serves to push her outside of her comfort zone. Having accomplished many praiseworthy life goals (graduate school, home ownership, half marathons, job promotions), Christine decided that now is the time to move forward in a different way, motivated by the cause of prevention. Cancer has touched many loved ones in her life, including her mother, an aunt, a brother-in-law, and two close friends. Inspired by the strength she has witnessed in others, Christine steps forward on her climb journey in their honor.
Michele Cobble—San Francisco, California
Michele believes that living a full life means both challenging herself and making a difference in the world. Both of these pillars of her personal philosophy led her to become a team member for 2012 Climb Against the Odds. Michele has long desired to climb Mt. Shasta, understanding the physical and emotional challenge that goes along with mountaineering. No stranger to high peaks, Michele has trekked in the Himalayas (to Everest Base Camp), summited Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Whitney, and has been a hiker and a trekker for 30 years. Participating in Climb Against the Odds will combine Michele’s extensive experience on mountains with her desire to learn more about prevention and to honor those among her family and friends who have faced cancer, including both of her parents, her partner’s father, and many friends, neighbors and acquaintances.
Teasha Curren—Crescent City, California
Teasha’s personal experience with breast cancer has motivated her to take action. In January, 2011, at 31 years old with no known family history or genetic connection to cancer, Teasha was diagnosed with stage 1: invasive ductal carcinoma. As she now transitions from active treatment to survivorship, she looks forward to the climb as a path to continuing what she sees as tremendous personal growth. Teasha believes that if she can beat cancer, she can climb Mt. Shasta, and is feeling stronger every day as she trains for this journey. Teasha is committed to being a Strong Voice for the Breast Cancer Fund as she believes that the connection between breast cancer and the environment is obvious. Though she will never know why she was singled out as a young cancer survivor, she wants to do all she can, as part of Climb Against the Odds and beyond, to prevent cancer from touching others.
Hazel Dagala—Berkeley, California
Hazel Dagala is one of two staff members from the Breast Cancer Fund’s strategic business partner, Clif Bar & Company, to join the 2012 Climb Against the Odds. Inspired by fellow Clif staff who have shared stories from past climbs, Hazel is excited to be a part of this great journey and to have an opportunity to honor loved ones who have faced cancer. When Hazel was three years old, her mother died of lung cancer. She was a non-smoker, and only 36 years old. Hazel dedicates this climb to her mother and to her uncle.
Hendy Dayton—San Francisco, California
As leadership coach and consultant for the Boda Group Hendy has a passion for helping people thrive and excel. She is an experienced mountaineer and seasoned Climb Against the Odds veteran, having participated in 2005 and 2010. As an advocate for women and children, Hendy served on the boards of the Little School and the Bay Area Discovery Museum before joining the 2005 Climb Against the Odds team, where she climbed Mt. Rainier and became inspired by the work of the Breast Cancer Fund. She was so inspired, in fact, that she became a member of the Breast Cancer Fund’s Board of Directors as well. A breast cancer survivor, Hendy cherishes the greater appreciation she has gained for each moment of her life, and feels that being a member of the 2012 Climb gives her the best avenue for contributing to the work of prevention. Hendy is pleased to share this experience with dear friend and team member Deirdre Hockett.
Tarsha Ebbern—Steamboat Springs, Colorado
Tarsha is inspired to learn more about being an advocate for prevention, and joins the 2012 Climb Against the Odds to “breathe life at the top of the mountain” in honor and memory of her loved ones who faced cancer and for everyone that prevention can save because of the efforts of the Breast Cancer Fund. Tarsha has experience on mountains as a member of the 1992 Winter Olympics freestyle ski team, and through many years as a competitor in international competitions. But the day she came home from a World Cup tour to the news of her father’s cancer changed her life forever. Others in her family, along with dear friends, have also faced cancer, and Tarsha wants to carry flags and climb Mt. Shasta for everyone she can. Tarsha works in customer service for SmartWool, a gear sponsor for this year’s Climb.
Ann Eikenberry—Springfield, Oregon
No stranger to life journeys, Ann brings her spirit of determination and perseverance to the 2012 Climb Against the Odds. In the last few years Ann has lost 170 pounds, learned to run, trained and participated in a 10k, then a half marathon, then a Warrior Dash. She is ready to add the journey on Mt. Shasta to her personal summit/goal, and use the experience as an inspiration and a pathway into her renewed future. Included in this life plan is Ann’s intention to honor women in her life who have faced cancer, including her mother, who was diagnosed for the second time in 2006. Ann is also eager to participate in educating others about prevention and living safer, healthier lives.
Lori Fallace—Huntington Beach, California
Lori Fallace, M.S., is a devoted health educator, guest lecturer, mother and volunteer advocate for the Breast Cancer Fund. Recently nominated Middle School Teacher of the Year for Irvine Unified School District, Lori has become an outspoken champion for prevention both inside and outside the classroom. Adamant that a better life for the next generation begins with reaching them at a young age and imparting both knowledge and the tools for change, Lori crafts lessons based on State of the Evidence’s scientific findings and her specialized training with CHE’s Environmental Health Primary Prevention Institute. Lori is also a charismatic speaker, frequently requested for events like Lunafest, which support the Breast Cancer Fund in its endeavors. Lori’s new mission is to push for revisions in California’s Education Code that would include health instruction based on State of the Evidence’s latest scientific information and its impact on health.
Shannon Hahn—Durango, Colorado
A strong hiker and avid skier, Shannon joins Climb Against the Odds with a multitude of mountaineering experiences. Having witnessed three of her beloved grandparents’ experiences with cancer, Shannon understands the threat of cancer and is motivated to join other Strong Voices in support of the Breast Cancer Fund’s efforts to prevent the disease and remove environmental toxins. She is eager to push herself, and describes the Climb as a “dare-to-be-great” experience. Shannon is working hard to prepare for her first technical climb, excited for the chance to be a part of a team, and eagerly anticipating achieving her goal of flying prayer flags at the summit.
Deirdre Hockett—San Francisco, California
Deirdre has several friends who have been touched by breast cancer, including her dear friend Hendy Dayton, who is her 2012 Climb Against the Odds teammate. Hendy and Deirdre decided to take on this challenge together to directly support the work of the Breast Cancer Fund as a team. Deirdre is inspired by the remarkable courage and grace of her friends in the face of the disease and treatment. Impressed and motivated by the shocking statistic that 1 in 8 U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of her lifetime, Deirdre looks to Mt. Shasta this summer as a symbol of the challenges she has witnessed, and is eager to continue her advocacy and support of the Breast Cancer Fund long after the climb is over.
Hayley Jensen—Reno, Nevada
A collegiate athlete, Hayley has worked around her busy basketball practice schedule to train and fundraise for this year's climb. Her connections to the Climb are strong—Hayley's mom and her partner were members of the 2008 team. When Hayley was a little girl, her dear aunt, longtime Breast Cancer Fund supporter and climber Sherry Miller, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Hayley honors her Aunt Sher with this climb, hoping to grow as a person, as a leader, and grow closer to the memory and legacy of strength that Sherry left behind. At 19, Hayley is already an experienced mountain climber and seasoned athlete, bringing boundless positive energy and determination to speak for the Breast Cancer Fund and its mission to prevent cancer.
Alisa Johnson—Montague, California
The mother of two young boys, Alisa wants the world to be safe from toxins and potential carcinogens, and is committed to being a continued Strong Voice for the Breast Cancer Fund. Though not an experienced mountaineer, Alisa is a hiker and runner with a half marathon under her belt, and admits that she now looks at her neighbor Mt. Shasta a little differently than she ever has before. As the community climber for this year, the funds Alisa raises will return to her community to help Breast Cancer Services of Siskiyou County. Alisa honors the memory of her stepmother, Leslie, with her climb this year.
Pam Keefe—Ashburn, Virginia
An avid walker, hiker and cyclist, Pam came to Climb Against the Odds through what she calls an “enlightening experience.” After participating in the Komen walk last September, Pam hiked Mt. Washington in New Hampshire, and soon after saw a magazine ad for the Climb. Pam desired to participate in an impactful outdoor event in support of breast cancer, and was impressed by the Breast Cancer Fund’s focus on prevention. When Pam was 15 years old, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. She vividly recalls the fear of losing her mother and climbs this year to honor her mother and to take action so that her children never have to face that same fear.
Amy Legate—Woodstock, Vermont
This is Amy’s second Climb Against the Odds on Mt. Shasta, following her first expedition three years ago just after completing her own breast cancer treatment. This year she chose to climb a second time for several reasons close to her heart: for her dear friend Lee Ann, who hoped to reach the summit herself this summer but is bravely facing breast cancer once again, and in honor of her cousin Sue who is currently facing breast cancer. At age 37, Amy is also climbing for herself to celebrate her five years as a survivor. Amy epitomizes the strength, courage and vitality of the young women who have survived breast cancer. Never one to back down from a challenge, she seeks to combine her love of the outdoors and protecting natural resources with supporting a cause she has been all too intimate with. Amy is Corporate and Pro Sale Manager for Ibex, a sponsor of the Climb Against the Odds that has outfitted the last ten climb teams with their high performance baselayers.
Linda Morton—Seattle, Washington
Linda Morton has participated in Climb Against the Odds for many years; 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. Linda is now on her eighth Climb Against the Odds. Through this event and other events, Linda has been a strong fundrasier for the Breast Cancer Fund, and in April 2009, she was named a Breast Cancer Fund Hero, receiving the Andrea Ravinett Martin Strong Voices award.
Joanne Padilla—Hercules, California
Joanne’s commitment to the Climb Against the Odds comes from being touched by the experiences of others who have faced cancer. A close witness to the effects of cancer treatment, Joanne feels motivated to learn and spread the word about prevention and the work to rid the environment of toxins and radiation that cause cancer. Joanne is an enthusiastic voice for the work of the Breast Cancer Fund and an experienced and committed fundraiser. Though not an experienced mountaineer, Joanne is a triathlete and hiker who has completed other fundraising walks for breast cancer. After the climb Joanne looks forward to continuing her advocacy work as a Strong Voice for prevention.
Madeline Prager—Albany, California
A professional violist who lived abroad for 23 years, Madeline’s life-altering experiences with cancer have hit very close to home. In 1970, when Madeline was starting her first year of college at U.C. Berkeley, her mother died of ovarian cancer at the age of 50. In 1992, her first husband died of non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, just 48 years old. Just recently, Madeline’s sister has been diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer, likely related to two previous breast cancers. Both devastating losses and the fragile health of her sister have shaped Madeline’s life profoundly. An avid hiker and trekker (Nepal, Yosemite, Grand Tetons), Madeline is motivated to climb Mt. Shasta to celebrate her health and strength and the lives of her two daughters and to be a voice for her mother, her first husband and her sister. Madeline looks forward to more opportunities to speak and advocate for prevention and health.
Diane Silberman—Encinitas, California
Diane says the “before and after moment” of her life was the death of her 40-year-old mother Mary Jo in 1993, when Diane was just 21 years old. Breast cancer made her feel powerless, helpless and sad. Ten years later, inspired by a friend facing cancer, Diane began thinking about the action she could take to address the health crisis of breast cancer. An entrepreneur through and through, Diane founded Boobs on the Move®, spearheading team fundraising efforts in many creative ways to support a variety of events aimed at breast cancer concerns. An active poster on Facebook and Twitter, Diane found the Breast Cancer Fund and shares the message of prevention with her community. Diane brings a multitude of active athletic experience to the Climb Against the Odds, and this year, the year she turns 40, Diane is inspired to climb Mt. Shasta to go to greater heights for health and prevention, and continue to speak and act on behalf of the Breast Cancer Fund’s mission to stop cancer before it starts.
Katie Singleton—Alameda, California
Katie joins this year’s Climb Against the Odds team in part to gain a greater understanding of the Breast Cancer Fund. An avid outdoor sportswoman, Katie has spent a lot of time in the mountains hiking, fishing, backpacking, and skiing. Katie works for Adventure Medical Kits, a company that has supported the Breast Cancer Fund over the past few years and provided medical kits for the 2012 team. Although Katie feels fortunate that none of her family members have faced cancer, she notes that the number of people she knows that have been touched by the disease has grown exponentially in a short time. Katie understands how prevalent cancer has become, and is motivated to continue to speak and advocate for the Breast Cancer Fund and prevention.
Jane Small—St. Louis, Missouri
As a member of the 2010 climb team, Jane’s only regret was not being able to attempt a climb to the summit because of bad weather. She is back in 2012—hoping to attempt to summit again, but also just as dedicated to the cause of prevention as she ever was. As she did two years ago, Jane climbs in honor of her best friend Jill who is a survivor. Jill had no family history of the disease, but during treatment discovered that her body did not detoxify well. Jane firmly believes in the Breast Cancer Fund’s mission to eliminate environmental toxins and is committed to continue spreading the word and being a Strong Voice.
Cathy Ann Taylor—Sausalito, California
A friend of the Breast Cancer Fund since 1997, Cathy Ann Taylor has been a team member, training leader and event photographer on Climb Against the Odds expeditions including Mt. McKinley (1998), Mt. Fuji (2000), Mt. Rainier (2005) and Mt. Shasta (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, 2012), and has personally raised nearly a half a million dollars for prevention. Inspired by her grandmother and close friends who have faced breast cancer, Cathy Ann uses her strength to honor theirs. After 22+ years of being a professional mountain guide throughout the world, she started her own company, Cattara–Adventures with Insight, in early 2008. She 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 has raised over $400,000 to fund the important work of prevention. Cathy Ann has been recognized by Outdoor magazine for her volunteer efforts and by the Breast Cancer Fund in 2006 with the Andrea Ravinett Martin Strong Voices award. This year she dedicates her climb to four inspiring women in her life: Leigh Claxton, Elizabeth Eckholt, Kate Bartosh and Marilyn Howard.
Leslie Vanoni—Sonoma, California
On her twin daughters’ fourth birthday in 2001, Leslie received her first breast cancer diagnosis. Last year on Valentine’s Day, cancer returned: Stage IV, metastasis to bones and lungs. With determination, Leslie began treatment. In January of this year, Leslie was told that she is in complete remission. Open and honest about the effects of a devastating diagnosis on her life, Leslie comes to the Climb Against the Odds as shining example of grace in the most trying of circumstances. A lifelong athlete, Leslie has run a marathon and countless other races, climbed Half Dome, and gone on many local hikes. Mt. Shasta is a powerful symbol to Leslie; she says that she is motivated by the idea of participating in a challenge that represents the capabilities of strong healthy people, and that this climb exemplifies that for her.
Sally Werth—Martinez, California
Sally has witnessed both the emotional and physical challenges of breast cancer through the experiences of both of her sisters and a dear friend. As a Breast Cancer Fund staff member, Sally has also had the opportunity to see and celebrate the life-changing experiences of past climbers, and she is motivated to go beyond her work as a staffer to participate in this event in support of the mission for prevention. Well aware of the groundbreaking work of the Breast Cancer Fund, Sally continues to be a positive Strong Voice and advocate for health and a safe environment.