Breast cancer survivor to climb Mt. Hood in hopes for a cure

AUBURN, Wash. -- An Auburn woman who battled cancer head on now fights for others she's never even met.

Alaura Keith is celebrating five years since her cancer diagnosis with the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer.

This wife and mother of two teenage boys enjoys mountain biking and standup paddle boarding. Always energetic, a few years ago she didn't understand why she was suddenly tired all the time.

Then she found a lump in her breast.

"The lump that I thought was a cyst ended up being triple negative breast cancer," Keith said.

An aggressive form of breast cancer, her lump grew from the size of a marble to a golf ball in just a matter of weeks.

"I never thought really it could happen to someone who's 37 years old, active and eats healthy," said Keith, who teaches third grade at Lakeland Hills Elementary.

Her treatment included many rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and surgery to remove the lump. Through it all, she kept teaching three days a week.

"The busier I kept myself, the more I didn't have to think about it," she said.

But a few months in, she says it hit her.

"It's a process, like death or something, where you have those stages that you go through," Keith said.

And now almost five years later, Keith moves into another stage of life. She's decided to climb Mt. Hood, with the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer.

"Climbing a mountain wasn't necessarily on my bucket list, but I had some inspirational people that do it and I thought, you know, I'm an adventurous person," she said.

Keith clearly, matter of factly, recounted the moments she heard the words breast cancer: the loss of her long locks, the difficulty her two young sons had with it all.

But her voice doesn't crack and the tears don't well up until she talks about the reason she's now tackling a mountain.

"I can do that through fundraising and I can give that to Fred Hutch so they can figure this all out," she said. "I pray that that money does that."

Keith raised more than $3,000 for research at the Fred Hutchinson Center, which just launched the largest study in the world on triple negative breast cancer.

You can be a part of the cure: learn more about it or make a donation.