Thirty-Five Breast Cancer Survivors and Supporters Begin Journey for Breast Cancer Prevention

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Breast Cancer Fund announces Climb Against the Odds 2008 Team

SAN FRANCISCO – Steamboat Spring, Colo., family physician Rosanne Iversen spent 2007 being treated for breast cancer. On September 27, Craig Murray of Burlington, Mass., learned his mother, a breast cancer survivor, had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer; she passed away from the disease five days later. In an effort to overcome the devastating personal impact of breast cancer and to work toward prevention, Iversen and Murray have joined 33 other women and men, ranging in age from 15 to 65, in a 14,162-foot journey up Northern California's Mount Shasta.

The Breast Cancer Fund announces its ninth Climb Against the Odds team of breast cancer survivors and others affected by the disease to scale a mountain for breast cancer prevention. Hailing from nine states; California, Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire and Washington D.C., Canada and Japan, the Climb Against the Odds 2008 team will come together from June 15-21, 2008 to climb Mt. Shasta. The mountain is the second-highest peak in the Cascade Range, measuring a couple hundred feet short of Mount Rainier in Washington.

In response to the public health crisis of breast cancer, the Breast Cancer Fund identifies – and advocates for the elimination of – the environmental and other preventable causes of the disease. Only 10 percent of breast cancers are genetic, and science increasingly points to environmental factors in the sharp rise of breast cancer incidence. The money raised from Climb Against the Odds will benefit the organization's public education and policy initiatives to secure the changes needed to stop the epidemic.

"As a doctor, I feel my important mission is to get the word out to my neighbors, friends and patients about the realities of breast cancer," said Iversen. "Personally, I'm a different person from what I was before breast cancer. That's what is similar between climbing a mountain and going through breast cancer. By the end of both, you become a different person."

"My motivation for joining this climb is to honor my mother and the battle she courageously fought and to be part of a larger voice for breast cancer patients and their loved ones," said Murray. He will be climbing alongside his brother-in-law, Jason Owens of Smithsburg, Md.

"The Breast Cancer Fund embraces mountain climbing as a metaphor for the critical work we are doing to prevent the environmental causes of this devastating epidemic," said Jeanne Rizzo, R.N., executive director of the Breast Cancer Fund. "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, knowing that there is more that we can achieve together than apart."

This year's climb follows in the tradition of the Breast Cancer Fund's past mountain expeditions: Mt. Aconcagua, Argentina (1995); Mt. McKinley, Alaska (1998); Mt. Fuji, Japan (2000), Mt. Rainier, Wash. (2005) and Mt. Shasta, Calif. (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007). In March, the organization will release the 10th anniversary DVD of Climb Against the Odds: Mt. McKinley, a documentary film detailing the journey of 12 breast cancer survivors and supporters who embarked on an expedition of the highest peak in North America. For a complete list of the climbers and their biographical information, go to: www.breastcancerfund.org/climbteam08