The founders of Climb for a Cure started not just a hike up a mountain, but a movement that survivors, caregivers, and loved ones from across the country can participate in. They founded Climb for a Cure because they knew if survivors could fight colorectal cancer (CRC), then they could climb a mountain. 

This year's Climb for a Cure featured a Fight CRC Climb in Lake Tahoe, CA; Community Climbs in eight states; and numerous virtual climbs around the country. We are so proud of all of the relentless champions who got out there and got after it! From walking around your hospital floor to scaling actual mountains, YOU DID IT. Thank you for fulfilling the dreams of our Climb founders and supporting the path to a cure for colorectal cancer.

About the Founders

Chris Ganser

In 2012, Chris was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer when he was just 34 years old and in the best shape of his life. Chris quickly got involved in CRC awareness and advocacy through The Colon Club and Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC) as a Call-on Congress participant and Grassroots Action Committee member. In 2016, he teamed up with Chad Schrack and Brian Threlkeld to start the first-ever Climb for a Cure in Longs Peak, Colorado. 

“It's easy to feel a sting of defeat from colorectal cancer. Your body takes a bruising that on your worst days, you question if you'll ever recover,” said Chris. “But the human body, just like the human spirit, is resilient. Our group of hikers who took on Longs Peak in Colorado showed us that. This group of survivors, caregivers, and friends scaled mountains to support those in the fight. They inspired us and encouraged us.”

After Chris’ passing in 2018, Fight CRC honored him by establishing the Chris Ganser Climb for a Cure Scholarship. The scholarship is a unique opportunity for two CRC survivors to attend the in-person Climb for a Cure event. This year, rectal cancer survivor Christina Haywood and colon cancer survivor Mike Mancini joined Chris’ family, Jennifer and Chris Jr., to climb in Lake Tahoe.

Chad Schrack

Chad became an advocate in honor of his wife, Sheila, a stage IIIc colon cancer survivor. Over the years, the two of them have been unstoppable when it comes to raising awareness for CRC, from climbing mountains to walking the halls of Congress. In 2017, they were awarded the Community Advocate Award for advocates who are "all in." Those who go above and beyond within the year to advocate, volunteer, and/or fundraise for Fight CRC. "All in" for Chad means walking 2,800 miles across the country to raise awareness for CRC. In 2019, Chad made a pit stop to climb Quandary Peak in Breckenridge, Colorado, alongside Fight CRC advocates during his walk across America. 

"My dad and the other founders have raised not only thousands of dollars over the years but also vital awareness of the importance of screening." - Libby Schrack, Chad's daughter.

Brian Threlkeld

Brian’s advocacy journey started after he was diagnosed with stage I CRC. He feels lucky that he has never had to endure chemotherapy or radiation but fears his cancer may return one day. So he continues to climb for himself and other survivors who aren’t as lucky as him. “I know what it takes to scale mountains, and I know what it takes to deal with a cancer diagnosis. I’m happy to say that each one has helped the other, and they continue to do so,” said Brian. 

Brian was so passionate about Climb for a Cure that he joined the staff in 2019 to help grow the event into what it is today. Although he has since stepped back from this role, his passion for the Climb has not wavered. He continues to join the Climb event each year. 

“We were survivors, caregivers, friends, and family, all affected by CRC in one way or another. This would be the first time we’d climb a mountain as a group, but certainly not the last,” Brian shared after the 15-mile hike of Longs Peak in Colorado. 

This year's Climb may be over, but unfortunately, colorectal cancer hasn't stopped. We're working to find the path to a cure to colorectal cancer and need your support.

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