Homer cancer survivor and daughter head to Mt. Everest to raise awareness of ovarian cancer
Two Homerites are joining an expedition to Mount Everest in April as part of a nationwide effort to raise awareness of ovarian cancer.
“I was diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer in March,” said 68-year-old Lynn Temple. “I went through several operations and I went through four-and-a-half months of chemotherapy, and now [I’ve been] in remission for a couple months.”
Temple and her daughter Reba will be joining about 20 other cancer survivors and their family members from across the U.S. on a trek to Everest base camp on April 1 — a year to the day since Temple’s first chemotherapy appointment.
Two other members of the group will be attempting the full climb. Temple said, if successful, they’d be the first ovarian cancer survivors to summit the 29,000-foot peak.
“We'll hike to base camp and stay for a couple of days and do some treks,” she said. “Then we will leave and they will stay for a couple months waiting for a weather window to get to the top.”
Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women, accounting for more deaths than any other cancer of the female reproductive system, according to the American Cancer Society. A woman's risk of getting ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about 1 in 78. Her lifetime chance of dying from ovarian cancer is about 1 in 108.
Temple said her oncologist, Dr. Joanie Mayer Hope, out of Anchorage, is raising money for ovarian cancer research and advocating for early cancer detection through her organization Any Mountain.
That’s where Everest comes in. Hope believes fighting ovarian cancer is harder than climbing any mountain, even the earth’s highest peak above sea level, according to Temple.
“Our goal is to get $2.9 million for cancer research because Everest is 29,000 feet,” she said.
Temple is an avid adventurer. She’s part of a group of women in Homer that’s often seen out hiking or skiing. She’s biked around Africa and the Lower 48. And she’s already been to Nepal a handful of times — and hiked to Everest base camp.
“I've actually done another hike with my other daughter,” Temple said. “We went around the Annapurna Circuit. But Reba and I have always wanted to go. I thought that was over when I was diagnosed with cancer. That was one of the things that went through my mind was, ‘Well, she's got to go by herself.’ But now we're gonna get to go.”
Lynn and Reba Temple are hosting a Himalayan dinner at the Homer Methodist Church on Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. to raise money for ovarian cancer research.
On Feb. 17, they'll be hosting another fundraiser at Alice’s Champagne Palace, which will feature live music from Dr. Hope’s band and an auction. They’ll leave for Nepal on April 1.