Durango native and Osprey’s own Shannon Hahn will celebrate the summer solstice by climbing California’s snow-covered, 14,179-foot Mount Shasta, the second highest volcano in the United States with a team of women from across the country to raise money for breast cancer prevention.
For Shannon, 25, the inspiration to take part in the lofty climb came after she learned some startling statistics. According to the San Francisco-based nonprofit, and notably the only national organization focused solely on prevention, a woman’s risk of breast cancer today has increased to one in eight (it was only one in 22 in 1966) and only 50 percent of cases are linked to traditional risk factors, such as genetics.
The Breast Cancer Fund attributes the increase to exposure to carcinogens, radiation and chemicals that act like hormones.
“I felt compelled to support the Breast Cancer Fund’s mission to eliminate the environmental causes of breast cancer,” Shannon said. “From their groundbreaking work, I’ve learned that a precautionary approach to chemical exposure is essential to sound health. The organization works from the knowledge that breast cancer is not simply a personal tragedy, but also a public health priority.”
Shannon has set out to raise $10,000 for the Breast Cancer Fund and has also committed to paying for her share of expenses for the expedition, including travel to Mt. Shasta. Osprey Packs kicked in $1,000 of her $1,750 expenses while on the mountain, such as guiding services, meals and lodging. Please donate here.
In the past several months she has been in training for the expedition through backcountry skiing, running, road and mountain biking and hiking with a 30-pound backpack. Shannon also completed a single day mountaineering course, generously provided free of charge by Durango’s Southwest Adventure Guides, where she learned how to use an ice axe, crampons and self-arrest techniques and recently successfully reached the summit of Snowdon Peak (13,077 feet) near Silverton.
Climb Against the Odds 2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the Breast Cancer Fund and the 13th major mountaineering expedition for breast cancer prevention. The team will follow in the footsteps of the incredible women and men — breast cancer survivors and supporters — who have climbed Mt. Aconcagua, Mt. McKinley, Mt. Fuji and Mt. Rainier. The climb was envisioned in the early 1990s by breast cancer survivors Laura Evans and Breast Cancer Fund founder Andrea Ravinett Martin. Andrea’s words endure today:
“We climb to demonstrate our commitment, to ourselves and to others, that we stand for a world in which cancer is a thing of the past. 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, climbers and supporters, knowing that there is more that we can achieve together than apart. Success lies in the journey, not on the summit.” — Andrea Ravinett Martin (1946-2003)
Hahn said the experience thus far has been empowering for both her and her team.
“We have all stepped up and chose to do something — do what we could — about the breast cancer epidemic,” she said. “We didn’t just freeze up and say, ‘What can I do about it? It is bigger than me. I wish someone would do something about that’ — we acted in the spirit of responsibility and hope, and are directly contributing to breast cancer prevention. I believe this attitude can be contagious, and when someone stands for positive change, others will find the courage too.”
Shannon is more than halfway to her goal of raising $10,000. Please donate today.