"By helping others I ended up helping myself."
—Carol Lundin, 48
When Carol's sister died of breast cancer in 1991, it was a devastating blow. Carol, a teacher, didn't begin to heal until she embarked on a 3,000-mile cross-country breast cancer fundraiser bike trip in 2000. The experience motivated her to relocate from New Hampshire to Oregon and found the Cancer Community Renewal Project (which sponsors adventure-based retreats for breast cancer survivors) with a friend she met on the ride.
Not letting cancer beat me. Four years later Carol became one of the women she'd been helping: She was diagnosed with breast cancer. "I feared it would prevent me from continuing my work," she says. But a month after having a mastectomy and four days before starting chemo, she climbed 9,000-foot Mount St. Helens, in Washington.
Talk positively to yourself. "On my worst days of chemo, I'd say, 'This is nothing compared to climbing a mountain.' Recently, as I pedaled uphill in the rain, I said, 'This is nothing compared to chemo.' The tough experiences we have can create a cycle of resilience."
Cancer free for two years, Carol continues to help others. She now has her master's in social work. "There are few summits, literally or figuratively, I'm afraid to tackle," she says.