This summer, climbers from across the nation will once again scale Mt. Shasta to raise money for the Breast Cancer Fund. This year, Mount Shasta’s Paul Engstrom will be the officially recognized Siskiyou County climber, and all the money he raises will go directly to Breast Cancer Services of Siskiyou County.

This summer, climbers from across the nation will once again scale Mt. Shasta to raise money for the Breast Cancer Fund. This year, Mount Shasta’s Paul Engstrom will be the officially recognized Siskiyou County climber, and all the money he raises will go directly to Breast Cancer Services of Siskiyou County.

“My heart has been tugged many times as I’ve listened to the personal stories of sorrow, suffering and sacrifice this disease has caused its victims and their loved ones,” said Engstrom.

Engstrom knows many people who have been affected by breast cancer, and  over the years has always supported the Climb Against the Odds participants, some of whom have been his close friends, he said.

Though he’s never climbed Mt. Shasta before, isn’t fond of heights and “would really rather be on the golf course,” Engstrom said he made the decision to be this year’s local climber after his friend and fellow Mount Shasta Education Foundation member Theresa Winkelman passed away in September, 2010.

“A feeling of helplessness and bewilderment haunted me,” Engstrom said. “She was too young, too strong... It just wasn't fair! I thought about the girls on the high school golf team I coach, and how someday they might be affected by this disease; my friend Steve and the pain he endured with breast cancer; my granddaughters and what the future holds for them and, finally of my older brother Eric, who with courage and gratitude, spent his life in a wheelchair as a result of cerebral palsy. He would have loved to have been able to make this climb,” he said.

“I simply ran out of excuses; I had to step up to the plate and use these people as my motivation and strength. I'm dedicating my climb to them and all the other brave souls who face this disease with grace and dignity.”

Engstrom’s goal is to make it to Mt. Shasta’s 14,169 foot summit. He has begun working out and hiking in preparation for the climb, which has been scheduled this year for June 19-25.

Engstrom has set a fundraising goal of $15,000. All of that will stay in Siskiyou County to support BCSSC programs, including the Be Strong cancer recovery program, counseling programs and Yoga for Health.
BCSSC also offers individual grant assistance, transportation assistance and makes donations to the local community resource centers and hospice programs. In 2004, the BCSSC helped purchase mammography equipment and new dedicated breast coils for diagnostic breast MRIs at Mercy Medical Center Mt. Shasta.
For more about BCSSC, visit www.breastcancersiskiyou.org.

Past local Climb Against the Odds participants include Terry Thompson, Jenn Carr and Nancy Swift in 2003; Annie Bowles in 2004; Melinda Barnes in 2006; Anna Antonowich in 2007; Hillie Crowfoot in 2008; and Karen Pautz in 2010. This is the seventh year the Climb Against the Odds has been completed on Mt. Shasta. Other expeditions took place on Mt. Aconcagua, Argentina in 1995; Alaska’s Mt. McKinley in 1998; Mt. Fuji, Japan in 2000 and Mt. Ranier in 2005.

Though Engstrom said he’s a little uncomfortable asking for donations from his friends, he is confident that the cause outweighs his apprehension. So far, Engstrom has raised $1,145 toward his goal.

If you’d like to donate to Engstrom’s effort, you can do so by visiting his personal Climb Against the Odds website at www.breastcancerfund.org/2011climb/pengstrom. You can also mail checks made out to the Breast Cancer Fund to 201 W. Lake Street in Mount Shasta. Be sure to write “Paul Engstrom” on the memo line to ensure the money stays in Siskiyou County.