(Boulder/Denver, CO) May 15, 2007. North Face athlete Heidi Wirtz and Trango athlete and AMGA guide Majka Burhardt support ovarian cancer through volunteer works with the HERA Foundation
Professional climber, Heidi Wirtz, has scaled massive rock walls in India, Canada, and the United States, set women's speed records on multi-day climbs in the Yosemite Valley, and regularly tackles risky, finger-tweaking cracks all over Colorado and beyond. Yet, she says, although climbing is fun and challenging, it just doesn’t fulfill all her needs, one of which is to give back to the world community.
“I like the fact that I can now do something useful with my climbing experiences,” says Wirtz. “I am doing something that really helps people.”
Majka Burhardt, one of the first women to be certified by the American Mountain Guides Association, has climbed and guided throughout North America, made high-altitude ascents in Bolivia and Ecuador, and most recently led a team of three other women to establish new routes on sandstone spires in northern Ethiopia. Burhardt agrees that giving back is an important component of her climbing life.
“I believe this is an important event for the community and for women,” explains Burhardt. “As a climbing guide, the opportunity to share what I love with others who are inspired by the sport is what motivates me in my work. With HERA, I get to contribute to an event that inspires me and others, which makes it hard to pass up.”
On June 15-17, Wirtz and Burhardt, along with a host of other accomplished climbers, will contribute their skills, knowledge, and tenacity to yet another major challenge: the fight against ovarian cancer. By volunteering to lead clinics, give slideshows, and guide climbs as part of the first HERA Climb4Life event to be held on the Front Range, these expert climbers will instruct and motivate climbers of all abilities, whose $50 fees for participating will support ovarian cancer research and awareness-raising activities.
“By climbing together, I get to help participants reach a goal, and they enable me to see the world a little bigger,” says Burhardt, who will take a group of survivors up the Flatirons on the 16th.
Plus, Wirtz adds, “It’s a great opportunity to hang out with amazingly rad women. It is so fun to work with the women that come to the events, they are always so excited and full of energy.”
Both climbers have supported past efforts to raise funds and awareness to fight cancers specific to women, and although they have been the guides and instructors at these events, they also learn through their participation. As a member of a team of young female climbers untouched by cancer climbing alongside a team of cancer survivors in the 1998 Climb Against the Odds ascent of Denali to raise awareness about breast cancer, Burhardt came to realize, and now encourages others to know that “it's never too early to start paying attention.”
HERA is still accepting registrations for participants for this summer’s Climb4Life event, to be held June 15-17. To register, please visit: www.climb4lifeco.kintera.org. To talk with the athletes involved, please contact Lizzy Scully, firstname.lastname@example.org or 703-887-9755, and she will put you in contact with Wirtz or Burhardt.
The HERA Foundation is a registered 501 (c) 3, whose mission is to stop the loss of mothers, daughters, wives, sisters and girlfriends from ovarian cancer by empowering women to take control of their health, empowering the medical community to find new directions in ovarian cancer research and empowering communities to provide support. For more information, please visit www.herafoundation.org. To schedule an interview with HERA Foundation founder Sean Patrick please call 970.948.7360.