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Going Another Step Further

 June 6, 2014.  Nine days until Climb Against the Odds!
 
THANK YOU SO MUCH:  since reaching out to you last month, even more donations are coming in! I'm now at 60% of my goal to fundraise $15,000 to ensure the Breast Cancer Fund continues their important work: supporting scientific efforts to understand causes, and helping to inform us on what toxic exposures we already know that are linked to the disease.
 
THANK YOU for visiting my page, and for your ongoing support!  Check back for more updates as we get closer and closer to when the Climb Against the Odds team meets at the trailhead on Mt. Shasta, June 17.  Most important: please continue to share the information you are learning while reviewing the great tips on how we can start preventing this disease today.  Just follow the links at breastcancerfund.org to learn more.
 

WHY I CLIMB:  

The picture at the right is of my mom with me and sister, Holly, shortly after she was born.  One of the hardest parts of having breast cancer was having to tell my mom and my sisters (I have two) that I had been diagnosed.  I am working with the Breast Cancer Fund so we can start to make a difference for future generations.  As we know, a lot of exposures that influence this disease start even before we're born.  We've got mountains to climb, but the team and I are ready to show:  it can be done!

This is what climbing a mountain is all about:  Going One Step Further.  Will you join me, a young breast cancer survivor, in bringing us Another Step Further toward Education and Prevention, until one day we can say we truly beat Breast Cancer?  

Since August last year I have been training to climb 14,179-foot Mt. Shasta in Northern California. At the same time, I'm fundraising in support of the Breast Cancer Fund's groundbreaking work to prevent breast cancer by eliminating our exposure to toxic chemicals and radiation linked to the disease. 

I decided to join the Climb Against the Odds 2014 team in a moment of determination, and grief. My friend Stacy Reynolds, lost her own battle with this disease in July of 2013, at the age of thirty.  I was inspired by Stacy’s love of the mountains, and her dreams to climb Mount Everest.  When I saw the registration for the 2014 Climb, I knew that I had to try. It was also one small way I could give back to so many who have supported me through my own recovery from breast cancer diagnosis and treatments, and who have also asked me for more information on reducing their risk. 

In many ways, I've been in training for this climb since my diagnosis of Stage II Breast Cancer, in June 2010, at the age of 39.  I underwent mastectomy and started 15 month of chemotherapy that summer. I am currently taking a daily medication to help reduce my risk of recurrence. There is no guarantee that I am cured. My continued health is dependent on my lifestyle choices, staying active, and reducing my exposure to things that have been shown to influence the development of cancer.  

When I was first diagnosed, everyone around me was in shock.  As I told my friends and family of my diagnosis, so many of them asked: "How could this happen to you?  You're the healthiest person I know?"  I wanted to understand too.  I started to educate myself, so I could strengthen my chances for long-term disease-free survival. I found The Breast Cancer Fund's website to be a trusted source of information.  I visited their booth at the 2011 Conference For Young Women (C4YW) where I met my friend Stacy, among other inspiring young survivors. I knew the mission of the Breast Cancer Fund was to get to the root causes.

Having the gift and benefit of retrospect, it is clear there were many hazards and other modifiable risks that I was exposed to that I have no doubt contributed to my getting this disease.  I am asking for your help and support, to help us spread the word to many more people in the coming year, so everyone has the best science and information available to help inform herself, and prevent a disease for which there is no absolute cure for today.

You can learn more about my story and follow my progress here, as well as my beginner's mountaineering journey on my Tumblr blog: We Climb For Prevention.

http://www.tumblr.com/blog/weclimbforprevention

Everyone has been touched in some way by this devastating disease. Together, we will make prevention possible. Will you join me in this journey of a lifetime, my first mountain climb, by making a donation to support my climb? 

Thank you so much for your support!

Jill Zastko

 
May Raffle winner was announced on May 30.  The May Holly Spagnola Design Fundraiser Raffle Winner was Elizabeth Brophy!  THANK YOU TO EVERYONE who made a difference in MAY! 
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