In 1990, Sun Valley resident Laura Evans was unable to walk four blocks. Her body was ravaged by breast cancer and the debilitating side effects from the radical treatment that had been recommended to save her life.
But anybody who knew Evans also knew that she was feisty; and when, in 1995, she and international mountain guide Peter Whittaker led a team of 17 breast cancer survivors to the top of Mt. Aconcagua—at 22,841 feet, the highest peak in the Western Hemisphere—no one was surprised. That was just Laura.
The courage of the team helped raise awareness about breast cancer, as well as raising over $2 million for the cause. Most of all, the team raised hope for a cure.
After the Aconcagua climb, Whittaker and Evans founded The Expedition Inspiration Fund for Breast Cancer Research. He was the expedition, she the inspiration. Over the years, a small staff and hundreds of volunteers have organized international climbs, Take-A-Hikes, and other outdoor events to raise millions of dollars for breast cancer research. Additionally, for the past seven years, Expedition Inspiration has held a medical symposium in Sun Valley that brings together breast cancer specialists and researchers to discuss new findings in the field.
On October 17, 2000, Evans died of a brain tumor (unrelated to her breast cancer). But her vision lives on. “We continue to work with the same degree of purpose that Laura displayed every day in her courageous struggle against the disease,” said Katie Powell, Executive Director of Expedition Inspiration.
The sites for this year’s outdoor adventures, which are structured to empower and promote the health and well-being of participants while increasing the funding available for research, include Grand Tetons, July 5-12 and 14-19; Mt. Rainier, July 20-25; Mt. Borah, August 15-17; and the Adirondacks, September 14-20.
“Climbing, in many respects, is not unlike facing a life-threatening illness,” Evans once said. “You take every step alone, digging deep, focused on the goal and your own inner strength.”
For event schedules, please visit www.expeditioninspiration.org or call 208.726.6456.