Deep breath of success on Mount Hood: Reach the Summit program helps Sisters woman change path away from emphysema – The Bulletin, January 10, 2009

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Katie Williams had always been intrigued by the notion of climbing Mount Hood. But the 53-year-old Sisters resident just never really got around to trying it.

When she received a brochure for the American Lung Association of Oregon’s Reach the Summit program, however, it had a special resonance for her. Her maternal grandparents had both died of lung cancer, and she had started smoking herself at age 14. By the time she was 25, she was smoking nearly three packs a day and suffering from chronic lung problems. Spurred by her doctor’s emphysema-by-30 prognosis and a nighttime incident of coughing up blood, she quit smoking cold turkey nearly 30 years ago. Here was a chance to strike back.

The Reach the Summit program offers individuals the training and support to climb a mountain such as Mount Hood in exchange for raising money to benefit the lung association’s research and outreach efforts. It was the right goal and the right cause for Williams.

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