Nova is climbing for her friend, Donna Mathwig, who is in the midst of a breast cancer battle, as well as her own grandmother, Genevieve Speicher who survived breast cancer but has since passed awa

As an oncology nurse at Mercy Medical Center in Redding, Dunsmuir’s Sarah Nova is constantly inspired by the patients she works with every day. On June 8, Nova plans to use that inspiration to summit Mt. Shasta as part of the Climb Against the Odds, raising funds to support local women affected by breast cancer.

Nova has lived in Siskiyou County her entire life, and climbing Mt. Shasta is something she’s always wanted to do. After watching several of her friends participate in the Breast Cancer Prevention Partners’ Climb Against the Odds, which has been held on Mt. Shasta for the past 15 years – she decided this is the right time to attempt a summit of her own for a good cause.

Nova is climbing for her friend, Donna Mathwig, who is in the midst of a breast cancer battle, as well as her own grandmother, Genevieve Speicher who survived breast cancer but has since passed away.

Nova said her initial goal was $6,000 but after meeting it rather quickly, she decided to go for $14,179, one dollar for every foot of Mt. Shasta. She is currently at $11,000 and within shooting distance of her goal.

In March, Nova hosted a fundraiser in Dunsmuir with Victor and Allison providing music for a no host bar and raffle event, during which $2,000 was raised. Other events including pilates and spin classes have raised funds for her climb, as well.

Nova’s final fundraiser event will be held this Friday, May 17 at the Mount Shasta City Parks’ Upper Lodge at 6 p.m., featuring the music of Brothers Reed and Johnny Callahan and the Revival Band. There will be raffles, Poncho’s tacos, burritos and quesadillas and a no host bar.

Raffle prizes include multiple gift certificates to local restaurants, golf for two at the Mt Shasta resort, 2- 1/2 day snowmobile rides by Fun Factory, a tool set from Ace Hardware, Fisherman’s Float from Solano’s, gear from The Fifth Season, a gift basket from Seven Suns, movie tickets, a gift basket from Northbound Coffee, a two night stay in Crescent City, and more.

Tickets for the event are $20 and can be purchased at the door, at Zephyr’s Books and Coffee in Yreka or at The Fifth Season in Mount Shasta.

As an additional fundraiser, Nova will take prayer flags in honor of loved ones to the summit for a $100 donation.

To prepare for her climb, Nova has been running, hiking Rainbow Ridge and Mt. Bradley – which is right out her back door in Dunsmuir – and taking private lessons from Jenn Wood of White Mountain Pilates. She has also been backcountry skiing.

“I’m getting excited,” Nova said “I’m a bit hesitant with the higher elevation ... I haven’t bee past Lake Helen. But I’m feeling good and I’m excited to go up with the group.”

Nova will be one of 10 women led to the summit by Shasta Mountain Guides. They are all climbing to raise money to support Breast Cancer Prevention Partners, although all the funds Nova raises will stay in Siskiyou County to assist women affected by breast cancer diagnoses through Breast Cancer Services of Siskiyou County.

This organization provides funds for Siskiyou County women going through breast cancer treatment for fuel costs, lodging, prescriptions not covered by insurance, the “Be Strong” program (which provides free gym memberships for women fighting cancer) and hospice services.

Nova said that although she never expected she’d end up an oncology nurse, she fell in love with the patients she cares for as well as the nurses and doctors she has worked with for the past 15 years.

“It’s pretty special. These are people who are going through something horrific that absolutely turns their lives upside down, but they are gracious going through it,” Nova said. “It’s rewarding. There are definitely heartbreaking moments, but I think I’ve found my place.”

Nova thanked her family – including her husband, Marcus and three children: 9 year-old Ariah, 7 year-old Meira and 4 year-old Cohen – as well as the Siskiyou County community and all her friends and supporters for helping her in her fundraising goal.

Breast Cancer Prevention Partners is a science-based advocacy organization that is working to prevent breast cancer by eliminating exposure to toxins chemicals and radiation linked to the disease.

Local climbers have raised more than $150,000 in past years for their efforts. They are 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; Karen Pautz in 2010; Paul Engstrom in 2011; Alisa Johnson in 2012; Jen Bray in 2013; Tessa Montgomery in 2014; Paul Engstrom and Brett Waite in 2015; Shalonda Gerdes in 2016; Andrea Shanti in 2017; and

Heather Mason in 2018. To make a donation to Nova’s climb, go to https://donate.bcpp.org/fundraiser/1711823