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Two Boston-area women to join mountain expedition for breast cancer prevention

A survivor and a woman who lost her mother to the disease aim to eliminate the environmental causes of breast cancer

For Immediate Release: May 7, 2013
Contact: Pamela Thompson paja.thompson@gmail.com, 781-724-3993; Kristin Winchell kmwinchell@gmail.com, 617-302-6254; or Rebecca Wolfson rwolfson@breastcancerfund.org, 415.329.2920

BOSTON AREA—A breast cancer survivor and a woman who lost her mother to the disease will take part in the Breast Cancer Fund’s Climb Against the Odds mountain expedition from June 16 to 21.

Pam Thompson, 51, of Milton, Mass., was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2010, and underwent a single mastectomy. “As a breast cancer survivor, I feel so lucky to have given up only a breast, and not my life,” Pam said. “But I'd like to prevent others from having to go through this experience.” Pam, the manager of adult education at Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum, is training to climb one of California’s highest mountains, Mt. Shasta, in June, as part of a 29-person Climb Against the Odds expedition. The team is climbing to raise awareness, and funds, for breast cancer prevention.

“As I train and climb I will be carrying in my heart those I know who have recently lost their lives to breast and other cancers, and those who are currently dealing with this disease. I am humbled by their will to fight and honored to represent them on Mt. Shasta.”

Another member of the team is Kristin Winchell, 28, who lost her mother to breast cancer in 2012. “As I prepare to climb those 14,000 feet in June, I will also be mentally climbing mountains: I will be learning to live without my mom but to carry on her love and compassion, I will be struggling to convince people that there are preventable contributors to breast cancer, like environmental exposures and lifestyle factors, and I will be growing stronger as I train to undertake this task.”

Kristin’s mom loved the outdoors and took her and her brothers on countless hikes and camping trips. Kristin reflected, “I’m climbing Mt. Shasta for her, because I can’t think of a better way to celebrate her life than to climb to the top of one of the highest mountains in California in her name.” Kristin is a graduate student at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

The Breast Cancer Fund is a San Francisco-based nonprofit organization working to prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposures to toxic chemicals. The Breast Cancer Fund analyzes the science, works for passage of landmark public health legislation, and convinces industry giants to make safer, less toxic products. A recent federal advisory committee report, Breast Cancer and the Environment: Prioritizing Prevention, concludes that prevention is the key to reducing the burden of breast cancer.

“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.”

Sponsors of the Climb are LUNA, Clif Bar Family Foundation, The North Face, Klean Kanteen, Ahnu, Osprey Packs, Seventh Generation, Ibex, Adventure Medical Kits, Leki, Smartwool, Outdoor Research, Sterling Rope, Princeton Tec and Autodesk.

This climb follows 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; 2006-12).

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

Read climber bios at http://www.breastcancerfund.org/events/climb-against-the-odds/meet-the-2013-climb-against-the-odds-team.html

Donate to the Climb at http://prevention.breastcancerfund.org/site/TR/Events/General?fr_id=1260&pg=pfind

Note to reporters: Climbers are available for interviews leading up to the climb as well as following their descent from the mountain on or after June 21. High-resolution images from the climb will also be available on June 21.

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The Breast Cancer Fund is the leading national organization working to prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposures to toxic chemicals and radiation linked to the disease. www.breastcancerfund.org