Friday, August 19, 2011

Go take a hike—for charity

Expedition Inspiration makes inroads in cancer research

Express Staff Writer

Expedition Inspiration uses outdoor adventures to raise money for cancer research.

Few things are as shocking as hearing a diagnosis of cancer in a loved one. Thanks to the efforts of Expedition Inspiration Fund for Breast Cancer Research, great strides are being made in breathing hope into survival rates and an eventual cure.

Through sponsored hikes and climbs like the upcoming Take-A-Hike Sun Valley, Expedition Inspiration is able to hold an annual symposium that brings together the world's leading researchers. They collaborate on insights in the endeavor to understand, treat and ultimately cure breast cancer.

This year, three different routes are being offered for varying skill levels. All will start in the morning of Saturday, Aug. 27, at Boundary Campground on Trail Creek Road just past the Sun Valley Resort.

After a $25 entry fee, hikers can choose to take the high road around Proctor Mountain Loop for 5.6 miles and a lovely view of Sun Valley and Bald Mountain. A medium route takes a 3.9-mile tour around Rudd Mountain, and a family-friendly low road meanders around Aspen Loop for 1.5 miles.

Participants interested in a bigger challenge can sign up for the guided climb up Devil's Bedstead. The class 3 to class 4 climb is led by the Sawtooth Mountain Guides and requires a $250 registration fee.

To up the ante and compete for some great prizes like Smith Booty Cards, some participants have taken the opportunity to create their own fundraising pages through

All will meet at day's end to enjoy a hosted party catered by "The BBQ Guy," Rod Rushton, with DJ Oliver Guy heading up the entertainment. Non-hiking eaters can show their support by paying the $25 and just enjoy an evening outdoors in the company of survivors of breast cancer and those who are fighting with them for cure.

In the Tibetan tradition, every hiker and climber will receive a tribute flag to carry in honor and remembrance of family or friends who have battled breast cancer.

Funds for this year's Inspiration Climb and Take-A-Hike will support the 16th annual Laura Evans Memorial Breast Cancer Symposium titled "The Metastatic Process and Novel Opportunities for Therapy."

Expedition Inspiration spokesperson Suzanne Mulenos explained that EI's active adventures are structured to empower and promote the health and well being of all who participate, while increasing the amount of funding available for breast cancer research. That's why each climber or hiker is encouraged to raise more money than the cost of participation, increasing the amount available for grants.

EI resulted from a brainstorm by the late Laura Evans as she ended her seventh week in isolation during a bone marrow transplant to fight stage 3 breast cancer in 1990. She decided to form a team of survivors to climb a mountain to raise awareness and financial support to fight breast cancer. This became a visible tribute to the courage of breast cancer survivors everywhere.

In 1995, Evans and Peter Whittaker, a premier international mountain guide, led a team of 17 breast cancer survivors to the top of Argentina's Mount Aconcagua, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere. She wrote a book of their journey called "The Climb of My Life."

The tradition has grown ever since with millions of dollars raised for research and continues to empower cancer survivors with inspiration and cutting edge research.

Jennifer Liebrum:

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