Photo by Colin Stapp
Lynn Lippert has summited 16 peaks to support breast cancer research
by Andy Koopmans
Lynn Lippert was diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine mammogram in 1997. She underwent a lumpectomy, radiation and chemotherapy. Then, just three years later, Lippert’s doctor discovered a tumor in her other breast.
She opted for a double mastectomy to remove the tumor and reduce the risk of future cancer. The strategy was effective, and Lippert and her partner, Sal Jepson, celebrated by traveling the world and climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak.
“Almost a year to the day from my last chemo treatment, we were standing on the summit,” Lippert said.
“That was a very sweet and emotional moment. Coming down, I felt like I was getting on with my life."
Unfortunately, her battle wasn’t over. In 2009, Lippert felt pain in her pelvis – the original cancer had metastasized to her bones. She caught it early enough to send it into remission.
Now 71 years old, Lippert celebrates her three-time survival by making contributions to cancer research. She’s summited dozens of mountains, including 16 to raise funds through Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s Climb to Fight Breast Cancer. For those climbs, she carries a banner with the names of more than 1,000 people touched by cancer.
“It’s a symbol that there’s just way too much cancer in the world,” she said.
It’s also a symbol of hope, which Lippert and Jepson know a lot about. During Lippert’s cancer ordeals, the couple stayed active and committed to enjoying life.
“Lynn has a very powerful story to show you can thrive and survive and have a wonderful life in spite of cancer,” Jepson said. “I think her story is compelling to those who have the diagnosis and think life is over. It’s not over until it’s over.”
Lippert completed her first Climb to Fight Breast Cancer peak in 2005 and climbed her most recent one – Mount Olympus in Washington state – in August, on her 71st birthday. She has used the climbs to raise more than $200,000. This incredible amount of support inspired Lippert and Jepson to establish a $50,000 endowment in 2012 to fund Fred Hutch’s breast cancer research. They added another $50,000 this year.
“We have a vested interest in finding a cure and are impressed and intrigued with Hutch pilot projects, which need funding but aren’t quite ready for large National Institutes of Health grants,” Jepson said. “We truly believe one of those brilliant researchers will be the one to make a breakthrough and find a cure.”
Photo by Pete Pin
by Andrea Detter
Last year, Wall Street Journal columnist Laura Landro traveled from her New York City home to Seattle to mark the 20th anniversary of the bone marrow transplant that saved her life. The celebration reunited Landro with members of the team that helped her survive chronic myeloid leukemia – including her physician, Dr. Rainer Storb, whom she honored during an emotional evening at last year’s Hutch Holiday Gala.
“Once you have a relationship with someplace like the Hutch,” Landro said, “you don’t want to lose it. Ever.”
To support Fred Hutch’s pursuit of cancer breakthroughs, Landro and her husband, Rick Salomon, established an endowment for leukemia research in 1997. The endowment’s funds help Hutch researchers improve transplantation, including refining mini-transplants, which involve much smaller doses of radiation than traditional transplants. Mini-transplants can be used for patients who might not be able to withstand the conventional procedure and could reduce transplants’ side effects on children.
Landro and Salomon see the endowment as a way to give back for all she received as a patient. She also gives back in her professional life. Landro wrote a book titled “Survivor: Taking Control of Your Fight Against Cancer” and launched a Wall Street Journal column called “The Informed Patient,” which helps readers navigate the health care system.
As a well-known journalist, Landro regularly gets emails from cancer patients who need advice. When your life is at stake, she said, “You call in every chip you have, but sometimes it’s hard to get connected to the right people.”
She finds it gratifying to point others toward resources that help patients assemble their own teams – teams that may one day celebrate milestones like the one that brought Landro back to her team at
Photo by Matt Hagen
by Andrea Detter
When Gary Bylund met Dr. Bonnie McGregor, their impromptu discussion sparked an innovative experiment: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center’s first crowdfunding campaign.
Bylund, a longtime Fred Hutch supporter, was impressed by McGregor’s passion for developing an online program to support ovarian cancer survivors. He also saw that she was concerned about landing funding for work that was too novel to qualify for a federal grant. They hit upon crowdfunding, which uses the Internet to help people pool donations to support a project.
“Sounds like something we should do at the Hutch,” Bylund told McGregor.
They set out to test the idea, fueled by a generous pledge from Bylund and his wife, Catherine. McGregor launched her campaign on Indiegogo.com last May and in 40 days her crowd raised more than $12,000, surpassing her $10,000 goal. The funds gave McGregor seed money to create an online stress-reduction program for ovarian cancer survivors, with the goal of improving their quality of life.
It’s an example of how the Bylunds create opportunities for others to support Fred Hutch. They host an annual Fourth of July auction that raises tens of thousands of dollars for Fred Hutch, and they’re charter members of President’s Circle — donors who give at least $10,000 annually.
Their relationships with scientists and benefactors who share their passion for lifesaving research makes giving to the Hutch special for the Bylunds.
“We’re in this fight together,” Catherine Bylund said. “I really like that. I can wrap my arms around it and get behind it.”
Photo by Shane Young
by Ben Williams
As a prostate cancer survivor, Alan Ashton knows firsthand how research can impact patients and families. That’s one reason he and his wife, C.J., decided to include Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in their will. The Spokane, Wash. couple has supported Fred Hutch for more than 20 years. Their estate gift reflects their understanding that research organizations need a variety of revenue streams.
“We like feeling that we are fitting in, like pieces of a puzzle that include private sources in addition to government grants,” Alan Ashton said.
Estate gifts can be tailored to a benefactor’s specific circumstances – even small gifts can have a big impact – and they help the Hutch plan long-term by delivering guaranteed future funding. Scientists can leverage planned gifts into federal grants that are 10 or even 100 times larger than the original private investment.
“Our desire is to support cancer research as a broad-based approach to understanding the disease, and Fred Hutch has such a well-rounded approach,” C.J. Ashton said. “They aren’t looking at just genetics or the environment, but anything and everything that could contribute to understanding the various causes of cancer and the development of effective treatments. We are very happy to support Fred Hutch in any way that we can.”
Learn how you can support research at fredhutch.org/howtohelp.