Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In

Become a Member

Get access to more than 30 brands, premium video, exclusive content, events, mapping, and more.

Already have an account? Sign In



Sean Patrick 1951 – 2009

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app.

Photo courtesy of

HERA Foundation Announces the Passing of Founder Sean Patrick

Sean Patrick: April 5, 1951 – January 20, 2009

HERA Foundation founder Sean Patrick, 57, died of complications related to ovarian cancer on January 20, 2009. She was a remarkable person who touched many lives in profound ways. Ms. Patrick was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1997 and established the HERA Foundation (health, empowerment, research, awareness) in 2002. Under her guidance, the non-profit has made great strides in raising funds for ovarian cancer research and awareness. She received Climbing Magazine’s Golden Piton award in 2005 in recognition of her outstanding community service. In 2004, Ms Patrick was featured in a one-hour special on the Jane Pauley show, sharing her inspiring journey facing ovarian cancer.

A recognized leader in the cancer community, Ms. Patrick sat on numerous boards for cancer related organizations, including the Blanton Davis Board, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. She was also a member of the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance’s public education committee and the SPORE External Advisory Committee at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Born April 5, 1951 in Peekskill, N.Y., she was awarded a Bachelor of Science degree in fine arts from Skidmore College, Saratoga, N.Y. in 1973. Upon completion of college, she was selected for an art fellowship in Florence, Italy. In 1988, Ms. Patrick founded the Impact Group, a strategic marketing and design firm based in Western Colorado. She was an avid rock climber, skier, cyclist and scuba diver. Beyond HERA, Ms. Patrick adopted a selfless attitude in everything she did, and dedicated her life to helping others overcome life’s challenges. Her community work and volunteer service over four decades inspired young men and women in many communities. Below is her personal statement. It is a testament of her passion. She will be greatly missed.

Patrick at a HERA event in Salt Lake City, Utah, 2007. Photo by John Evans. Click here to view a photo gallery of Sean Patrick at HERA events

Sean Patrick, Founder HERA Foundation & Climb4Life Event Series

The years since Sean Patrickʼs diagnosis with ovarian cancer have been a melting pot of emotion. Though now sheʼs at the point where she can say, “Cancer does not mean life is over; you can survive and thrive, do new things and learn new skills.”

For Sean, a self-proclaimed type-A overachiever, this has meant learning not to sweat the small stuff. “Life happens and the only thing you have control of is your attitude,” she says. “You can deal with it with a bad attitude or a good one…and life is just more fun with a good attitude.”

In 1990 this longtime resident of Carbondale, Colorado and avid skier, mountain biker and hiker, learned to rock climb— a sport that encompasses all that she loves in life: problem solving, taking calculated risks and physical and mental challenges. Seven years later, at age 46, she reached an advanced level in climbing, 5.12a. At the same time, she faced the greatest test of her life: a diagnosis of ovarian cancer. The cancer diagnosis came as a shock since she had no family history of ovarian, breast or colon cancer.

During her recovery from surgery she decided to use her passion for the outdoors and resolve the lack of awareness, information, and funding for ovarian cancer. Creating the HERA (Health, Empowerment, Research and Advocacy) Foundation and the Climb for Life, her goal was to empower women to take control of their health, empower scientists to find new directions in ovarian cancer research and to empower communities to provide support.

Having met the Johns Hopkins Director of Gynecology/Pathology, Johns Hopkins approached her to get involved with creating an ovarian cancer website. Taking it a step further, she worked to create the HERA Foundation’s Web site,, which receives 40,000 unique visitors monthly from 97 countries and has been translated into Chinese and Spanish.

Sean and the HERA Foundation have touched the lives of countless women around the world – some scared others frustrated, but all in need of support during a time more stressful than most of us can imagine. In the whirlwind that has become her life as an advocate for women Sean passes on the valuable lesson she’s learned: ”We all have the power within us to change the world in a positive way. It just takes one idea, one individual, one scientist, one company or one community to make a difference in the world. That’s the power of one.”


On this date that brings a great loss, Sean held great hope that with the new administration there will be a much-needed change in our health care system. A memorial service for Ms. Patrick is planned for April 2009; details to follow at To continue her legacy, please make donations to the HERA Foundation,

About the HERA Foundation The HERA Foundation is a registered 501 (c) 3, whose mission is to stop the loss of mothers, daughters, wives, sisters, partners 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, visit

Click here to view a photo gallery of Sean Patrick at HERA events

Film: How Matt Cornell Free Soloed One of America’s Classic Hard Mixed Routes

"The Nutcracker" explores the mental challenges of solo climbing and the tactics Cornell used to help him send the route.