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Women Climb On Board for Breast Cancer Benefit


By Karen Zekan

The nonprofit group Boarding for Breast Cancer raised more than $175,000 Sunday at its seventh annual Snowboard and Music Festival, in Lake Tahoe, California.

Proceeds will benefit Barton Memorial Hospital in South Lake Tahoe, Munson Healthcare Organization's women's cancer fund, Sarah Fischer Breast Health Project in Bend, Ore. and New York's Uniquely You Boutique and Salon in Glen Falls Hospital and Cancer Center.

"It was a great success," said group cofounder Kathleen Gasperini. "The snowboarding industry and the professionals really embraced this event."

The event also featured the largest turnout ever of professional women riders, including Olympic gold medalist Kelly Clark, two-time Olympian Shannon Dunn, six-time world champion Michelle Taggert, X Games champion Barrett Christy, Tina Basich and the women's Chorus snowboard team. Men pros from Austria, Finland, France and the U.S. also attended, including Dave Downing.

As it does every year, Sierra-at-Tahoe shut down the mountain for the event and contributed the lift ticket portion of the $55 admission price. The resort also built a snowskate park for the 2,200 attendees as well as the super pipe and slope style courses used throughout the day for competition.

A six-band concert provided entertainment after snow-time, while a circus of tents housing about 35 industry and cancer-related booths offered educational and fund-raising opportunities.

B4BC started as the result of a story that ran in Gasperini's online magazine, Women In General (WIG), in August 1995. It was written by Monica Steward, a prominent snowboarder, who described her experience after being diagnosed with breast cancer at age 26.

Tremendous reader response prompted Gasperini, Steward, Lisa Hudson, and pros Dunn and Basich to gather at the ASR trade show in September 1995 and ultimately form B4BC.

"We worked on the organization, planning a fund-raising event, and then three months before the first event, Monica called me and said, 'I'm sick again,' " Gasperini recalled. 'I thought she had a cold. She said, 'No, the breast cancer is back and it's spread through my body. I don't think I'm going to make it.' None of us knew what she meant by that. She passed away in January 1996, and our first event was April 1996."

Co-founder Hudson's mother is a breast cancer survivor, and her grandmother died of breast cancer.

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