Meet the Climber: Jill Zastko

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JillOver the next month we will feature the inspiring members of the 2014 Climb Against the Odds team as part of a series called Meet the Climber. Climb Against the Odds is the Breast Cancer Fund's annual mountaineering expedition for breast cancer prevention. Each year an amazing team of women and men from across the country gathers to attempt to summit the 14,179-ft. Mt. Shasta in support of the Breast Cancer Fund's groundbreaking work to prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposure to the toxic chemicals and radiation linked to the disease. Each climber will arrive with very personal reasons to climb, yet together the team will show anything is possible with mutual support, determination and hard work. You can learn more about each climber at our Meet the Team page and follow this series.

We’re kicking it off with Jill Zastko.

At 39, Jill Zastko of Columbus, Ohio, was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. When she was first diagnosed, everyone around her was in shock.  As she told her friends and family about her diagnosis, so many of them asked: "How could this happen to you?  You're the healthiest person I know." She wanted to understand too.  She started to educate herself, so she could strengthen her chances for long-term disease-free survival. She found the Breast Cancer Fund's website to be a trusted source of information.  

Jill decided to join the climb in a moment of determination, and grief. Her friend Stacy Reynolds, lost her own battle with this disease in July of 2013, at the age of thirty. Jill was inspired by Stacy’s love of the mountains, and her dreams to climb Mount Everest.  When she saw the registration for the 2014 Climb, she knew that she had to try. “It was also one small way I could give back to so many who have supported me through my own recovery from breast cancer diagnosis and treatments, and who have also asked me for more information on reducing their risk.” 

Learn more about her story and donate to her climb here.
Learn more about her mountaineering journey on her Tumblr blog: We Climb For Prevention.

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4 thoughts on “Meet the Climber: Jill Zastko

  1. I can also guarantee that only one person threatened the life of the other — that would be Jill Zastko. I won’t even go into the mind games that preceded that threatening phone call, but all I did was reach out to collect money for work completed on her home by written agreement. We had been best friends, and to this day, I don’t know why she began treating me viciously all of a sudden, other than the fact that the job was done and I had twice before in our history told her we would not be a couple. I’m the kind person here. Sorry if the truth is uncomfortable.

  2. I’d like to know what Joe knows about me, or the wages Ms. Zastko stole from me just before her “heroic” climb. I have all the records if he’d like to see. — Todd

  3. Jill, the climbing to the summit was great! I too have lost loved ones to cancer. It’s a nasty disease.

    The following may be before.hard to imagine, I know it was for me. Around 50 years or so ago, Linda and I were together for a too brief time, it was all my fault, I broke it off.

    Several nights ago, I had a very disturbing dream about Linda, even though I have never dreamed about her before. This was very upsetting, as I had no idea why.

    After searching on Google, I was to find out why. She had passed a year ago this month to cancer, further investigating found that she had a very fulfilling life.

    Through the years I had sometimes wondered how her life had turned out, now I know, I still am curious, as to the dream, and what it meant,
    maybe it was just to say a final goodbye.

    My deepest sympathies go out to you and your family.

    I had to write this to somebody, it was v ery compelling and strange at the same time, to dream of her in August and with such a feeling of sorrow and dread.

    I am very sorry for your loss, she will be missed by a lot of loved ones, me included.
    Sincerely, Bruce

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