She may not have made it all the way to the summit, but City of Hope’s Susan McCreary, R.N., O.C.N., recently climbed a mountain for patients with brain tumors.
McCreary, a nurse in 4 West in City of Hope Helford Clinical Research Hospital, attempted to summit Mt. McKinley in May. Also known as Denali, or the “great one,” the mountain is the highest mountain peak in North America. It rises 20,320 feet above sea level.
|Susan McCreary, second from right, and Mario Cuevas hold the sign they carried on their quest to summit Denali. (Photo by Courtesy of Mario Cuevas)|
McCreary, a member of the Sierra Madre Search and Rescue Team, was one of six climbers in the expedition that began the Alaska climb on April 25. Calling themselves “Team Shake and Bake,” the team progressed well up the mountain, but extremely bitter, windy weather conditions stalled them as they reached the end. Despite successfully building an igloo for shelter amid 70 mile-per-hour winds, team members knew the storm would not lift, so they turned back for home in mid-May.
“Susan had dedicated the climb to brain tumor research awareness and City of Hope’s brain tumor support group,” said Mario Cuevas, P.A.-C., of the Division of Neurosurgery. In 2005, Cuevas and McCreary both climbed Mt. Whitney in California, dedicating the climb to brain tumor patients and raising funds for research.
“It’s unfortunate that with the full year of preparation that went into this climb, the team could not reach the summit,” Cuevas said. “But safety is most important. I’m sure that Susan and the other members of the expedition will climb again.”
According to Cuevas, about 45 other climbers and seven rangers also sought the Denali summit along with Team Shake and Bake. Those teams were less prepared and also faced extreme difficulties, he said.
He credited Team Shake and Bake’s search and rescue training for helping the climbers survive the difficult conditions.
To read day-by-day reports from the climb, go to www.sharpdenaliexpedition.com.