SNEWS® Live: Hera Foundation uses climbing to empower women battling ovarian cancer

SNEWS® Live connects with Hera Foundation organizer Sean Patrick and board member Lara Usinowicz to learn how the group raises funds and awareness in the fight against ovarian cancer.
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SNEWS® Live: Sean Patrick is a typical modern woman. At the age of 56, she lives in the Colorado mountain town of Carbondale. Vibrant and dynamic, you’d never know from talking to her that she suffers from a deadly disease.

Diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 1997, Patrick rallied her passion and enthusiasm for climbing to empower herself and others to raise funds and awareness for the fight to find a cure.

In 2002, with the help of several friends in the climbing community and Peter Metcalf, president of mountain gear manufacturer Black Diamond, Patrick launched an event called Climb For Life. Cancer survivors gathered in Salt Lake City, Utah, to celebrate their love of sport and their active lifestyles despite their struggle against the disease.

That first Climb For Life event set in motion a non-profit that now gives hope and inspires courage in hundreds of women across the country. Called the HERA Foundation, the group founded and led by Patrick has galvanized a sisterhood of women who use climbing as a metaphor to illustrate their difficult but undaunted battle against ovarian and other types of cancer.

These women gather over the course of a weekend a few times a year at various locations around the country. And then they climb. But, more importantly, those who attend share their stories and any information on care and treatment, as well as support for one another.

SNEWS® live spoke with Patrick and Hera Foundation board member and leading fundraiser Lara Usinowicz. They provided an inside look that reveals the passion and motivation behind this institution that’s doing a so much for so many women.