Why We Climb

Davren Bell
Mt. Rainier

Davren BellThis journey is a very personal one for me. In the past four years I lost both of my parents to lung cancer. First my father in 2011 after 5 and half months of battling it, he was 44 years old. My mother then in late September 2015 after battling it for 18 months. She passed one day before her 48th birthday. This is too young to die. They had so much more to live for, but due to this horrible disease they could not. I’m here helping to raise money for lung disease research so that one day others don’t have to sit by their loved one’s side and endure these diseases.

Rebecca MacAskill
Mt. Rainier

Rebecca MacAskillEver since my dad, Dan MacAskill, got diagnosed with lung cancer- I have been involved with the American Lung Association. First was to show support for him while going through treatment in the Chicago Fight for Air Climb in the Presidential Towers (organized by my dear group of friends!). Then, after the cancer took him from us, I have continued to climb and be involved for several reasons. Some of which are: continuing his memory, coping and making something positive out of something so awful, working with a great organization to help others with lung cancer and families going through what we did, find a cure for Lung Disease, to promote healthy lifestyles and much more!

I did the Seattle Fight for Air Climb of Rainier Tower and then I "upped" my game and climbed the ACTUAL MOUNTAIN - Mt Rainier! There were many thoughts and emotions running through me before making this decision, but I committed and I did it!

Ed Neumann
Mt. Adams

Ed NeumannThe best success stories generally have one thing in common: support from someone, an individual or an organization, that had knowledge and resources to facilitate that accomplishment. For recovering smokers, the American Lung Association is often vital in their challenge to become, and remain, 'smoke free'. For me, this event was as an opportunity to help give that others may benefit from its lung health education, support and research programs.

Having never participated in fund raising or considered mountain climbing, I also recognized that committing to the climb was an opportunity to stretch my personal 'envelope', go places I had never even envisioned and do things I had never imagined. I signed up immediately so I wouldn't have a chance to change my mind.

What was it like? How did it feel? Only by making the commitment, setting a goal of raising at least the required donations, training for six months and then reaching the summit, achieving your fund raising and mountain top goals, will you truly know. I can only say I felt a strong sense of satisfaction when the fund raising goal was met. And I can share that, within the moment of the last five steps to the summit, and the five deep breaths of air it took to make them, was one of the most powerful and satisfying experiences of my lifetime.

Katie Williams
Mt. Hood

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 this climb is 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 and one I will never forget.

Wendy Barnes
Mt. Hood

Wendy BarnesThe program brought together many things in my life - the need to do something adventurous and challenging, 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 of the personal challenge and the chance to be on a team supporting the American Lung Association.

Steve Papp, Jr.
Mt. Hood

Steve Papp, Jr.Steve Papp, Sr. and Steve Papp, Jr. have shared many Oregon trails together. Hiking to the summit of Mt. Hood was a special memory for both of them for two reasons: The physical challenge and to honor the memory of 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 Mount Hood. 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.

 

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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