Team Shasta to ‘Climb Against the Odds’

Steve Gerace
Paul Engstrom and Brett Waite on Mt. Shasta Dec. 26, 2014. They are planning to climb the mountain together during the Breast Cancer Fund’s annual Climb Against the Odds fundraising event in June.

Brett Waite and Paul Engstrom are in training for the Breast Cancer Fund’s annual “Climb Against the Odds,” scheduled for June 21 to 26 on Mt. Shasta.

Because Brett was chosen as this year’s local climber, half of the money she and Paul raise through donations will be used locally.

Together, Brett and Paul are calling themselves Team Shasta. They and 20 or so others from around the country are gathering donations in advance of the 11th Climb Against the Odds to be held on Mt. Shasta.

Brett and Paul say they’re not climbers by nature, but they want to be part of the Breast Cancer Fund’s effort to “prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposure to the toxic chemicals and radiation linked to the disease.”

They believe that effort is also beneficial in the fight against other types of cancer.

Team Shasta has scheduled a fundraising dinner for May 9 at the Elks Lodge in Mount Shasta. It will feature a gourmet dinner prepared by Kevin and Liz Lahey. Tickets will be on sale at Doris Moss Realty, the Chamber of Commerce and Fifth Season.

Brett, a realtor and president of Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce, said she is dedicating her climb to the memory of her aunt Camilla Sbarbaro and to Darcy McNaboe, the mayor of Grand Terrace in San Bernardino County.

Paul, who has participated in past Climbs Against the Odds, said he is climbing this time for both a high school friend and Leif Voeltz, owner of The Fifth Season.

Brett said her aunt Camilla died from cancer in 2011 “and was a person whom I loved and admired my whole life.”

She said McNaboe, who is going through treatment for breast cancer, is “active and involved in her community. I’m good friends with her brother... a real estate attorney. He donated in her name.”

McNaboe plans to be on the mountain when the climbers descend in late June, Brett said.

Commitment to others

“We want to show a commitment to someone else, someone who is going through a much greater challenge,” said Brett.

“We’re cyclists,” said Paul. “We’re just average people going up there, just people who care and put a little effort into it to honor these people.”

On their Team Shasta donation web page,, Brett and Paul describe Voeltz as “a dear friend of (Paul’s) and the Breast Cancer Fund who contracted leukemia last summer.”

They say Paul’s former classmate Jana Dieter is undergoing treatment for breast cancer “with tremendous courage.”

“We hope to gather strength for our climb from these brave people, and the countless others who are waging their own battles,” Brett and Paul write in their statement.

They point out that “one in eight women get breast cancer in their lifetime,” and they want to do whatever they can to help raise awareness about it.

“Aluminums, deodorants, perfumes, cosmetics... women have to be aware of what we’re putting on our bodies,” said Brett. “Raising the awareness of prevention and early detection is paramount in the choices we make.”

Referring to all the people in the community who are supporting Team Shasta’s effort, Brett said, “It takes a village. We have a stong village here.”

BCF Climb on Mt. Shasta

Paul said Climb Against the Odds typically raises more than half a million dollars each year with sponsorships.

“This is the eleventh year they’re coming here, because they love it here,” said Paul. “They’ve done it on Mt. Hood and Kilimanjaro and in Japan. They come here because they love the community.”

“We’re lucky to have it here and honored to be climbing in Mount Shasta,” said Brett.

Paul said he enjoys being on the mountain and snowshoeing, but “I don’t particularly care for heights and don’t particularly care for being cold.”

As opposed to cycling, he said climbing “takes a whole different set of muscles.”

They’ve been training on a versa climber, climbing Spring Hill while wearing a full backpack, cycling, lifting weights and hiking as far as Horse Camp on the mountain.

“The climb represents both a personal endeavor to honor the courage it takes to face breast cancer and a collective effort to stop the disease before it starts,” they write on the Team Shasta web page.

Brett says she and Paul “are reaching out to friends, and their friends, to assist us with this endeavor.”

They plan to cover all personal costs, but are seeking donations for the Breast Cancer Fund.

Donations can be made at the May 9 dinner or on the web at:


Prayer flags can be donated in someone’s name. The flags will be carried to the summit by Brett or another climber if she doesn’t make it all the way.

One flag will be sent to the donator and one will go to the summit and be displayed at Breast Cancer Fund events.

Make checks payable to the Breast Cancer Fund (c/o Team Shasta in the memo field) and mail to 201 W. Lake Street, Mt. Shasta, CA 96067.

The website is well stocked with information about environmental causes of breast cancer, tips for reducing breast cancer risk, and the work BCF is doing “to transform how we think about and use chemicals and radiation in order to reduce breast cancer risk and sustain life.”

“I know so many people affected by breast cancer and other cancers as well,” said Paul. “I have personal friends who have been through breast cancer and friends who have died of other cancers. It’s a horrific thing. This is a good cause.”