John Ellison, who founded Climbers Against Cancer after his own diagnosis with prostate cancer in 2011, died from his illness on December 27. He was 52.
Ellison, a climber from England, was a prominent figure on the international competition circuit, serving as a judge at many world-level events. After his diagnosis in October 2011, he began raising money for cancer research at big climbing events, and in early 2013 he formalized the process, launching Climbers Against Cancer. Since then, sales of the organization’s brightly colored T-shirts—worn prominently by top climbers worldwide—and other donations have raised more than half a million dollars for cancer research. Climbing awarded Ellison its 2013 Golden Piton for Community.
Ellison was admitted to hospital on December 24, and that night his family and doctors decided to withdraw treatment. He passed away three days later. At the Climbers Against Cancer Facebook page, Ellison’s daughter, Charlotte, wrote, “We are all so proud of everything he has achieved during his journey, and how he made CAC a world-renowned charity in such a short space of time. I would like to thank you all for making his life so enjoyable and for all the continued love and support you have all provided. He couldn't have done it without you."