HERA Climb For Life Festival — REI and DC climbing community join forces to combat ovarian cancer

January 24, 2006

Outreach Specialist
REI Fairfax, VA & Rockville, MD
FFX 571-522-6568
RV 301-230-7670

Fairfax, VA – REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.) and DC’s climbing gyms, Earth Treks and Sportrock have teamed up with The HERA Foundation to present a month-long climbing festival, Climb For Life, in support of ovarian cancer research.

From March 3rd – April 1st, people of all ages and athletic abilities will undertake a personal climbing challenge to raise funds for ovarian cancer research and help spread awareness of this disease. Every dollar of every donation will go to The HERA (Health, Empowerment, Research and Advocacy) Foundation, a non-profit organization that empowers women, the medical industry and communities in their fight against ovarian cancer. Founded by ovarian cancer survivor and avid rock climber Sean Patrick, HERA awards research grants directly to scientists at Johns Hopkins University who will receive over 90% of the donations from Climb For Life. The mission of the HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation is to stop the loss and encourage women to take control of their health.

“Everyone who attends Climb For Life will take something away with them,” notes REI Outdoor Guide Supervisor Ashby Robertson who assisted at the 2005 event. “We all know somebody who can be affected. Everybody’s got a mom, daughters, wives, friends. It easy to forget how fragile we are. This is a great chance for people to make a real difference in someone’s life and also learn new skills and have some fun.”

Climb For Life begins with a special Kick Off event, on Friday, March 3rd at REI Fairfax, VA, featuring Sean Patrick and a climbing skills demonstration presented by a Black Diamond athlete. Then on March 4th, Sportrock, Sterling, VA will host an all-day Climber’s Festival with professional climber clinics, representatives from outdoor industry, and local ovarian cancer advocacy groups. Throughout the month, participants will climb in the six Sportrock and Earth Treks gyms, attend REI clinics, and raise funds for HERA. The event will close on April 1st with a huge party and friendly competition at Earth Treks, Rockville, MD with special awards for top fundraisers.

Registration and further information is available at www.heraclimb4lifedc.kintera.org . We encourage the DC community to come out and join us – friends, neighbors, and world class climbers like Will Gadd and Nate Gold. Be the difference you want to see in the world.

REI, founded in 1938 as a consumer co-op by a group of Pacific Northwest mountaineers, is a national multi-channel retailer of quality outdoor products. REI sells all of the top outdoor brands, including its own line of award-winning gear and apparel. While anyone may join or shop at REI, members pay a one-time $15 fee and receive a share in the company¹s profits through an annual patronage refund based on their purchases. A portion of REI’s profits is set aside each year for support of conservation, outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship causes, with more than $9 million donated since 1976 to such efforts around the country.

REI operates over 80 retail stores across the country; two online stores – REI.com and REI-OUTLET.com – and an adventure travel company, REI Adventures. REI was recently selected by Fortune Magazine as one of the top ten U.S. companies to work for.

The HERA Women’s Cancer Foundation contributes over 90% of donated funds for research and helps raise awareness and improve the quality of life of those battling the disease. By providing seed grants to post doctorate and clinical fellows, scientists at Johns Hopkins are now searching for new directions in early detection, treatment and prevention of ovarian cancer. The Foundation has also pioneered a program in communities where treatment options are limited, by offering immediate assistance to aide patients with travel, hotel rooms, and childcare while they undergo treatment. In states across the country, support and awareness programs have been established and existing programs funded.

“The skills women learn in climbing – problem solving, risk taking and confidence in their decision making – will enable them to climb all the mountains in their lives.” Sean Patrick

Sean Patrick’s story of survival is remarkable not only for her struggle against the disease but against the ill advice of her own doctors. After continual reassurances that everything was fine, Patrick took control of her health and insisted her doctors perform two surgeries that eventually led to the discovery of ovarian cancer. She became even more pro-active after the diagnosis, firing her doctor and with a new one at her side took part in clinical trial rather than the recommended chemotherapy. Today, Patrick continues to climb to new heights.

In creating HERA, named after the ancient Greek goddess, a protector of women known for shaking up the status quo, Patrick has broadened her fight against ovarian cancer and helped countless other women and their families. This year alone, over 25,000 women will be diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Climb For Life began five years ago as a way to spread awareness and raise funds for the Johns Hopkins Ovarian Cancer Initiative and for women and their friends and family who are battling this disease.

news image strip