Climb Against the Odds begins on Mt. Shasta

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald
Brett Waite, right, is the 2015 Climb Against the Odds local climber. She is shown in an advance photo with her "Team Shasta" climbing partner Paul Engstrom. Together they raised more than $16,500 in donations prior to the start of the climb, scheduled for Tuesday, June 23 on Mt. Shasta.

The Breast Cancer Fund’s Climb Against the Odds 2015 team, made up of 20 people touched by breast cancer, is scheduled to begin its ascent of Mt. Shasta Tuesday, June 23. The summit attempt is scheduled for Wednesday.

The event raises funds to support the Breast Cancer Fund’s work to prevent breast cancer by eliminating exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation linked to the disease, according to a press release.

Local climber Brett Waite of Mount Shasta and her “Team Shasta” partner Paul Engstrom have raised more than $16,500, according to information on their Breast Cancer Fund web page: http://prevention.breastcancerfund.org/goto/teamshasta2015.

Like the other climbers, they have personal motivations for participating and share a commitment to breast cancer prevention.

Waite, a realtor and president of Mount Shasta Chamber of Commerce, said in April that 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, who is going through treatment for breast cancer.

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

Engstrom, who has participated in past Climbs Against the Odds, said he is dedicating his efforts this time to both a high school friend and Leif Voeltz, owner of The Fifth Season.

For Klean Kanteen, owner Michelle Kalberer of Chico, the climb is about more than reaching the summit, it’s about a journey to stop the disease before it starts.

“I’ve held my mom’s hand – and recently the hand of my best friend –through breast cancer. I feel like I have been a part of such a special journey with the Breast Cancer Fund and those they touch. I have been given such a wonderful opportunity, and I can’t wait to feel like I am on top of the world!” said Kalberer.

The Breast Cancer Fund says one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer, and only half of these cases can be tied to traditional risk factors such as genetic inheritance, diet and reproductive history, according to a press release.

As stated in a Breast Cancer Fund press release, “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 leading national breast cancer organization focused solely on breast cancer prevention working to identify and eliminate the environmental causes of the disease.

“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, RN, 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, LEKI, Adventure Medical Kits, Princeton Tec and Shape Magazine.

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, 2003-2004, 2006-2014.

Follow the climb’s progress at the Breast Cancer Fund’s blog www.preventionstartshere.org.

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

Sign up for next year’s climb at www.breastcancerfund.org/events/climb-against-the-odds/apply.html.