2012-07-05 / Sports
Climbing for cancer: Cal Lutheran hoopster scales Mount Shasta
A junior-to-be guard on the California Lutheran University women’s basketball team, Jensen has done just about everything when it comes to outdoor activities— hiking, kayaking, skiing, fishing and camping.
“My family has always been pretty outdoorsy,” Jensen said. “I grew up around it, but I’ve never actually climbed a mountain.”
At age 15, Jensen saw her mother, Jacque, and her partner Becky Fisch climb Mount Shasta for the Breast Cancer Fund. Hayley Jensen became inspired to one day ascend the fifth-highest mountain in California at 14,179 feet.
“It was an experience of a lifetime,” said Jensen, who was part of the Breast Cancer Fund’s Climb Against the Odds team, which is raising money for breast cancer prevention.
Scaling the mountain wasn’t just another notch on Jensen’s outdoor activities belt; it became a way to get involved in the fight against breast cancer.
In 2007, Sherry Miller, a close friend of Jensen’s family, died of breast cancer. Miller was diagnosed with the disease in 1998 and became a big supporter for the Breast Cancer Fund.
Like Jensen, Miller loved the outdoors and was active with Climb Against the Odds.
“I respected her and looked up to her,” said Jensen, who refers to Miller as “Aunt Sherry.”
“She climbed Mount Shasta and Rainier. She was just very inspirational, amazing and a wellloved person.”
When Fisch climbed Mount Shasta in honor of Miller in 2007, a tradition was born. A year later, Fisch and Jacque Jensen went up the mountain.
“I went to support Becky, and when I saw the mountain, I knew one day I was going to climb it,” Hayley Jensen said. “The following year my mom climbed and it inspired me even more.
“This year I was able to make the commitment and everything fell into place.”
Jensen was able to raise almost $17,000 for the Breast Cancer Fund, and she received contributions from coaches and teammates.
“Hayley was always talking about ways of stopping breast cancer during practice,” said Taylor Autry, Jensen’s teammate.
“You can definitely see her passion.”
Jensen said she received support from her CLU head coach Roy Dow, who allowed her to train for the climb during the basketball season.
“When I returned to Reno after the basketball season, I climbed a mountain, which was pretty much in my backyard,” Jensen said.
“I hiked that mountain several times for training. Being a college athlete has its perks. I was well conditioned from the season and my body was able to handle this challenge.”
Jensen’s girlfriend, Nina Kuzniak, made the trip to Mount Shasta.
“I watched (Jensen) train physically and mentally,” said Kuzniak, an incoming senior at Cal Lutheran.
“She was very prepared. When she came back down, she was like, ‘Let’s do this again.’”
From the base camp, it took Jensen eight hours to reach the summit and another four hours to climb back down.
In total, Jensen spent three days on the mountain.
Jensen wants to keep the tradition alive by encouraging a friend to participate in the Climb Against the Odds team next year.
“I’m hoping to get a friend or somebody else to climb next year,” Jensen said. “If I get a friend to commit to that, I would definitely climb with them.
“I want to spread the word about breast cancer and finding ways of preventing ourselves from being exposed to the harmful chemicals that have been proven to lead to breast cancer and cancer in general.”
Get to know Hayley Jensen
Music: Country, acoustic
Sports: Ultimate Frisbee,
TV shows: “Glee,” “Grey’s
• Bioengineering major
• Member of CLU
• Played basketball, softball
and golf at Galena High