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Team of Breast Cancer Survivors and Supporters to Climb Mt. Shasta for Breast Cancer Prevention

Breast Cancer Fund’s Climb Against the Odds mountain expedition begins June 19

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: June 13, 2012
CONTACT: Shannon Coughlin, 415-336-2246; scoughlin@breastcancerfund.org

Note to reporters: Climbers will be available for interviews following their descent from the mountain on or after June 22. High-resolution images from the climb will also be available on June 22.

San Francisco - The Breast Cancer Fund’s Climb Against the Odds 2012 team, made up of 27 breast cancer survivors and women touched by the disease, is in its final stages of preparation for the June 19 expedition of Northern California’s 14,179-foot Mount Shasta. The event raises funds to support the Breast Cancer Fund’s work to prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation linked to the disease.

The 2012 Climb Against the Odds team hails from eight states: California, Colorado, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia and Washington. The participants have trained in regional teams since January, and will come together from June 17 to 23 at the foot of Mt. Shasta, the second-highest peak in the Cascade Range, measuring several hundred feet short of Mt. Rainier. The summit attempt will occur on June 20.

Each team member has very personal motivations to climb—to honor her own or her loved ones’ experience with cancer—and all climbers share a commitment to breast cancer prevention.

For Teasha Curren, from Crescent City, Calif., attempting to reach the summit will be a personal celebration of getting through her breast cancer treatments, as well as a tribute to the courage of those who have faced or lost their lives to this disease. In January 2011, at 31 years old and with no known family history, Teasha was diagnosed with stage-1 invasive ductal carcinoma. In September, she finished nine months of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, and soon after joined the Climb Against the Odds team. As she transitions from active treatment to survivorship, Teasha says that training for the climb has made her feel stronger every day, and that having a goal to climb Mt. Shasta has led to a quicker recovery. “If I can beat cancer, then I can climb Mt. Shasta,” Teasha said. “I’ll never understand why I got breast cancer, but I want to do all I can, as part of Climb Against the Odds and beyond, to prevent cancer from touching others.”

A firefighter for the U.S. Forest Service in Siskiyou County, team member Jennifer Bray of Grenada, Calif., is not afraid of the hard work of climbing mountains. She said she joined this year’s Climb Against the Odds expedition to honor family members who have faced cancer, but since then her reasons for climbing have grown. “As I’ve been fundraising for the climb, so many people have shared their experiences with breast cancer, leaving me in tears on more than one occasion,” Jennifer said. “This experience has changed me forever. I feel honored to be climbing with these passionate folks and grateful to the Breast Cancer Fund for its amazing work to prevent breast cancer.”

Read about all 27 of the amazing climbers at http://www.breastcancerfund.org/events/climb-against-the-odds/meet-the-2012-climb-against-the-odds-team.html.

An alarming 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and only half of these cases can be tied to traditional risk factors like genetic inheritance, diet and reproductive history. More and more scientific evidence is linking breast cancer to the chemicals in our everyday environment—chemicals in our food, our products, our air and our water. More than 80,000 synthetic chemicals are registered for use in the United States. Fewer than 10 percent have ever been fully tested for their health effects. The Breast Cancer Fund is the only national breast cancer organization focused solely on breast cancer prevention through working to identify and eliminate the environmental causes.

“The Breast Cancer Fund embraces mountain climbing as a metaphor for the critical work we are doing to prevent the environmental causes of this devastating disease,” said Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., president and CEO of the Breast Cancer Fund. “We apply our courage and faith that anything is possible, if taken one step at a time. And we do it all as part of a team, knowing that there is more that we can achieve together than apart.”

Lead sponsors of the Climb are LUNA, Clif Bar Family Foundation, The North Face and Boarding for Breast Cancer. Other Climb sponsors include Osprey Packs, Ibex, Outdoor Research, Leki USA, Ahnu, Julbo, Klean Kanteen, Smartwool, Adventure Medical Kits, Princeton Tec, Pentax Imaging Company, Beyond Coastal, Pistil, Sterling Rope, Jetboil, Chums, Scarpa North America and Shasta Mountain Guides.

This climb will follow in the tradition of the Breast Cancer Fund’s past expeditions: Mt. Aconcagua, Argentina (1995); Mt. McKinley, Alaska (1998); Mt Fuji, Japan (2000), Mt. Rainier, Wash. (2005), and Mt. Shasta, Calif. (2003-04; 2006-11).

Follow the Climb’s progress at the Breast Cancer Fund’s blog www.insideprevention.org.

Get more event information at www.breastcancerfund.org/events/climb-against-the-odds/.

Read climber bios at www.breastcancerfund.org/events/climb-against-the-odds/meet-the-2012-climb-against-the-odds-team.html.

Donate to the Climb at www.breastcancerfund.org/events/climb-against-the-odds/.