Volunteers literally climb mountains to cure breast cancer

SEATTLE - There's progress being made on paying for research right here in Seattle that could one day save women from ever hearing the words, "You have breast cancer."

And the money - more than $367,000 raised so far this year - comes from a combination of donations and people willing to climb mountains.

Some people say the mountains just call out to them. Others say they're compelled to do something to help others - while also challenging themselves.

KOMO Newsradio's Marina Rockinger says, "I'll never know what it's like, hopefully, to go through chemotherapy and battling cancer. But it is sort of a parallel to that, and you think about that on the way up, you know - if my sister can battle cancer and come out on the other side, I can get up this mountain."

Marina started climbing 15 years ago.

The call that her sister had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma didn't come until after Marina had climbed several mountains and raised thousands of dollars for research.

"I cried a little bit up there," she said, reflecting on her recent summit of Mount Baker.

The journey's both emotional and physical.

Another climber, Amy Dyers, says, "(Mount) Shasta was my first mountain. It was the hardest thing I ever did, but the best thing I ever did."

Amy summited Mount Shasta in 2012, then Mount Hood in 2013. And this year, she gave Mount Baker her best shot, but a nagging injury got the best of her.

So why does she keep coming back?

Amy says, "The lives we're saving, you never know when somebody in your life is going to be affected by this. I have survivors, I have friends that have lost their lives to cancer and Fred Hutch is just an incredible organization and the research that they do is just breaking new ground every day."

And so the drive continues - to give those scientists at the Hutchinson Center the seed money they need to find a cure - to save lives.


KOMO 4 is a sponsor of the Climb to Fight Breast Cancer. You can donate now to support life-saving research at the Hutchinson Center >>