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Why We Support The Mission

Susan's Story

Susan Emmons-PossAlthough my father had smoked almost all of his life (starting at age 15 in 1941) he also was physically very active. He taught his five children to ski and sail and we spent our growing up years doing one or the other almost every weekend. In November, at age 79 he was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. His prognosis was not good. Two months into his treatment, in January, I heard an ad on the radio about this event.  I thought about how great it would be to climb my mountain and also focus on something help my dad as ne was facing his challenge. The fundraising effort turned into a wonderful opportunity to connect family and friends with updates and news of both my father's progress and my training.

My father met his challenge gracefully, teaching us all how best to live the end of one's life. He at the end of my climb and it was an unforgettable highlight in the last year of a life well lived.

Susan Emmons Poss
Mt. Hood and Grand Teton


Steve's Story

Steve-Steven-Papp-2008Steve Papp, Sr. and Steve Papp, Jr. have shared many trails together. The Reach The Summit program was a special memory for both of them for two reasons: It included the physical challenge of a mountain climb and honored the memory of a wife and mother, Jeannette M. Papp. Jeannette was a long time smoker and passed away from lung cancer at the age of 61. With the support of friends, family and the Lung Association they were able to find a way through this family tragedy and honor Jeannette`s memory.

Mom was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. Neither she nor my dad told the family about the stage 4 part of the diagnosis because they wanted all of us to remain positive and to help her fight the cancer as long as she possibly could.

Nearly six months to the day of my mom passing away, my dad and I stood on the top of our mountain. However, we could not have done this alone. The greatest memory of this event was more than being at the top of the mountain. It was the support we received from family and friends to reach our fundraising goal and to honor my mom's memory through this climb.

Steve Papp, Jr.
Mt. Hood


Leisa's Story

Leisa VandeheyMy reasons for participating in the American Lung Association's Reach The Summit were...

  • I believed that my participation would help "guarantee" that I would not start smoking again. After numerous attempts to quit over many years, I had successfully quit a few months before I learned about the event. I wanted to celebrate this accomplishment and reaffirm my commitment to a healthier lifestyle by making a commitment to join the team.
  • Supporting the American Lung Association by raising money and awareness for the work they do is in line with aspects of my work as an employee of the Multnomah County Health Department.

Although there are no "guarantees" in life, I feel great about reaching my personal goals. I am inspired to continue to push past my comfort zone to accomplish more of my life's goals.

Leisa Vandehey,
Mt. Adams


Wendy's Story

Wendy BarnesThe Reach The Summit program brought together many things in my life - the need to do something adventurous and challenging and the chance to honor my Mother's memory and to help in the fight against lung disease.

My Mom died of cancer in 2003 and it brought awareness to me the struggle that cancer brings to a family and the need for ongoing research into prevention and possible cures.

I have worked eighteen years for a group of physicians who are pulmonary specialists and see patients for lung diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung cancer. My climb gave me cause to remember many of these wonderful patients and their courageous attitudes.

As a native Oregonian I grew up in Salem and have looked at Mt Hood my whole life. To have the opportunity to climb to the summit was an incredible journey! I was drawn to this program because it gave my personal challenge the added chance to be on a team supporting the American Lung Association.

Wendy Barnes,
Mt. Hood


Katie's Story

Katie WilliamsMy family has a long history of lung disease and cancer. Both my maternal grandparents died of lung cancer and I myself had lung problems as the result of a smoking habit that began at the very young age of 14. I repeatedly got chronic bronchitis every year, which made it very difficult to breathe. It wasn't until after both my mother's parents died of lung cancer and my own progressive problems that I decided to quit at age 24, and never went back. In addition to this both my husband Jim and I have lost our moms to cancer and a very close friend of my stepdaughter suffers from asthma.

Lung disease is all around us and I am committed to doing something to make a difference. My motivation to make my climb not only for me but for the memory of all our loved ones who are suffering or have lost their battle with these debilitating lung diseases, and raising funds and awareness for the American Lung Association. My climb was truly a 'mountain top' experience in helping others and one I will never forget."

Katie Williams,
Mt. Hood

Breathing difficulties are not a normal part of aging. If you know someone who struggles to breathe, have them see their doctor. It just might save their life.

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