Sunday night marked the welcome ceremony for Climb Against the Odds, the Breast Cancer Fund's annual climb up Mt. Shasta.
Speakers included Mt. Shasta Mayor Tom Moore, Forest Ranger Jonathan Dove, Breast Cancer Fund President & CEO Jeanne Rizzo and board member Ellen Kahn, who told a story about our organization's founder, Andrea Martin, who, weeks before her death, gave a symbolic talisman to Ellen as she prepared to summit Mt. Shasta as part of the 2003 Climb Against the Odds team:
Following the story of the talisman, the group joined hands, then one by one planted a seed and shared their reasons for climbing or supporting the Climb. This period of the program is lovingly referred to as "Cry Against the Odds." Many people spoke of lost loved ones, or their own experiences with breast cancer. To hear these stories of love, loss and heartbreak brought most of the people in the room to tears. One climber, Phi Le, presciently described the experience as being part of something much bigger than himself.
One heartfelt story that stood out involved Kelsey Kerr, who is climbing in honor of her mom, Robin Ruppel-Kerr, who died recently from breast cancer. Robin, along with Kelsey’s aunt, summited Mt. Rainier and Mt. Kilimanjaro with the Breast Cancer Fund. Her mom also attempted to summit Mt. Shasta, but didn't make it to the top. Kelsey plans to start where her mom left off. She will be carrying the talisman handed down from Breast Cancer Fund founder Andrea Martin on her journey up Mt. Shasta.