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Group on Mt. Kilimanjaro

Cancer Survivors and Caregivers Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro

Article date: January 12, 2012

By Stacy Simon

About 35 cancer survivors and caregivers have completed a week-long climb to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa. The team, led by American Cancer Society volunteer and radiation oncologist Dr. Richard Deming, is taking part in a program organized by the nonprofit group, Above and Beyond Cancer. The group offers adventures to inspire cancer survivors as well as raise money to fight cancer.

Members of the team held a Relay For Life event on the mountain top that included the lighting of 1,000 luminaria bags. The bags bear the names of people who have been affected by cancer. Donations for naming the bags will go to the American Cancer Society.

In a letter to his fellow climbers, Dr. Deming wrote, “Climbing a mountain is a metaphor that many cancer survivors use to describe their cancer experience. It’s difficult, but when you succeed, there is a rush of excitement and a huge sense of accomplishment. It’s not just about getting to the top; it’s also about life’s lessons that you learn along the way.”

Participants are providing updates about their experience on Twitter, Facebook and blogs.

In the spring of 2011, Dr. Deming took 29 cancer survivors and caregivers to the Base Camp of Mt. Everest, where they held a Relay For Life event. The Mt. Kilimanjaro Relay For Life, at 19,340 feet, would break that record.

In addition to the Mt. Kilimanjaro climb, the American Cancer Society is working to fight cancer and tobacco use in Africa through local organizations that advocate for tobacco control efforts, cancer education, and leadership training.

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