American Association for Cancer Research

Press Releases: 2007

On the Quest to Conquer Cancer, Mt. Everest

April 11, 2007

PHILADELPHIA -- Thin air and bone-chilling winds notwithstanding, 35-year-old Karen Brooks looked down from her perch at the world spread out below her. At 29,035 feet, Mt. Everest had a view that could only be seen from the top of the world: a curving horizon of spectacular mountain peaks and endless clouds. There, among the beauty of the Himalayas, she planted a flag bearing a photo of her mother whom she had lost to cancer. A great achievement by any standard, Brooks' triumph was two-fold: she had not only climbed the world's highest peak, but she'd raised thousands of dollars for cancer research.

After months of training and preparation, struggling against the extreme cold and facing exhaustion, hypoxia, rashes, chapped lips and hands, and even a bout with bronchitis, Brooks finally reached Everest's summit in November, 2006.

"I needed the focus, the challenge, and a way to contribute to the fight against cancer. I thought a lot about how best to do this but was drawn to Everest almost immediately," she said. "Climbing Everest is the supreme symbol of man's personal struggle to achieve. I thought such an objective was a fitting way to honor my mom."

Brooks lost her mother, Bonnie, to brain cancer in late 2003. Since then, she has channeled her sadness into a positive opportunity to raise money for cancer research, successfully raising $94,575 to date through pledges and online donations. The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) will match her funds dollar-for-dollar to provide a grant to a postdoctoral fellow conducting brain tumor research.

The AACR-National Brain Tumor Foundation Fellowship, in memory of Bonnie Brooks, will be presented during ceremonies at the AACR's 2007 Annual Meeting on Tuesday, April 17.

Encouraged by her success on Everest, Brooks is turning her thoughts to new challenges. "I am already scheming with the fabulous Logsdon brothers (who biked from Alaska to Argentina) to climb Denali (Alaska) next year, so this is not the last you've heard of me, nor is it the last of my fundraising efforts for cancer research."

For more information about Brooks' quest to conquer cancer, visit:

Editors Note: Photographs of Brooks' "Climb to Defeat Cancer" are available for download here .

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The mission of the American Association for Cancer Research is to prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1907, AACR is the world's oldest and largest professional organization dedicated to advancing cancer research. The membership includes more than 24,000 basic, translational, and clinical researchers; health care professionals; and cancer survivors and advocates in the United States and more than 80 other countries. AACR marshals the full spectrum of expertise from the cancer community to accelerate progress in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cancer through high-quality scientific and educational programs. It funds innovative, meritorious research grants. The AACR Annual Meeting attracts over 16,000 participants who share the latest discoveries and developments in the field. Special Conferences throughout the year present novel data across a wide variety of topics in cancer research, treatment, and patient care. AACR publishes five major peer-reviewed journals: Cancer Research; Clinical Cancer Research; Molecular Cancer Therapeutics; Molecular Cancer Research; and Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. Its most recent publication, CR, is a magazine for cancer survivors, patient advocates, their families, physicians, and scientists. It provides a forum for sharing essential, evidence-based information and perspectives on progress in cancer research, survivorship, and advocacy.

The National Brain Tumor Foundation (NBTF) is a non-profit health organization founded in 1981 by patients, family members, and health professionals. NBTF raises funds for research, and provides information and support to patients, their families members and friends. Since 1983, NBTF has awarded over $3 million in funding for research projects. NBTF also sponsors conferences; support groups; patient and caregiver programs including a teleconference series; a quarterly newsletter; an information nurse specialist, and a wide variety of patient information about treatments, tumor types, and coping. For more information, call 1.800.934.CURE, or visit

Yarissa Ortiz