La Dawn Beardsley learned about the Breast Cancer Fund in 1999 when her mom was finishing treatment for stage III breast cancer. Her mom lived in Seattle, but loved spending time with her daughter in the Colorado mountains. They looked into visiting a small, quiet mountain town called Crested Butte for a weekend getaway and came across information about a Breast Cancer Fund event called Peak Hike. “In her typical fashion my mom responded with great enthusiasm and strength, declaring that she didn’t want to volunteer, she would rather participate!”
And so La Dawn’s love and connection with the Breast Cancer Fund began. “The Breast Cancer Fund events began as a way to celebrate my mom’s survivorship and then unfortunately a way to memorialize her.”
Since Crested Butte, La Dawn has participated in, fundraised for, or volunteered with, four Breast Cancer Fund hikes and mountain climbs around the world.
Next year she will memorialize her mom during the Breast Cancer Fund’s global hiking expedition, Sacred Treks. In 2015, trekkers will explore the Himalayan enclave of snowcapped mountains, lush green valleys and Buddhist monasteries during a 13-day trek to Sikkim while raising money to support the Breast Cancer Fund. La Dawn is especially looking forward to the cultural immersion. “I look forward to reuniting with former trekkers and expanding the circle by meeting new ones.”
Last year, she celebrated her birthday on a trek in the Caucasus Mountains of the Republic of Georgia. “How many people have the privilege of spending their birthday in the middle of nowhere in the beautiful Georgian Caucasus mountains with the most amazing group of like-minded trekkers, welcomed by the mountains locals with a feast, drinking local wine from a goat horn?”
The trek’s leader, Cathy Ann Taylor, who also helps lead the Breast Cancer Fund’s annual climb up Mt. Shasta in Northern California, has a gift for pulling people together. “She is an amazing mountain diva,” La Dawn said. “In Nepal, the staff and locals called her DeeDee, which means Big Sister! She is truly one of a kind in adventure travel and I would gladly follow her anywhere in the world.”
For La Dawn, mountains represent the metaphorical climb that cancer patients face on a daily basis. “They tackle the journey by putting one foot in front of the other. And the mountains reveal the beauty and courage that I have personally witnessed in so many survivors who climb.”
Prevention is about protecting future generations, La Dawn said. “I have 23 nieces and nephews whom I pray never have to face cancer.”
Through that journey she has learned countless life lessons from her mom, numerous cancer patients and the Breast Cancer Fund:
- No matter the circumstances, put one foot in front of the other and keep going.
- Be educated on environmental factors to make wise life choices.
- Your attitude makes all the difference in the world.
Spots are still available for the Breast Cancer Fund’s global expedition to the Himalayas. Learn more and sign up today.