Cancer survivors climb to support, inspire others - My29 WFTC Minneapolis-St. Paul

Cancer survivors climb to support, inspire others

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MINNEAPOLIS (KMSP) -

Over the years, many people have raised money for cancer patients by walking, running and biking, but friends of metro cancer survivors climbed to new heights over the weekend to help others take the plunge.

For Krista Henshue, defying gravity is nothing compared to defying cancer. When she was diagnosed with Hodgkins lymphoma, it sapped her body and drained her personality. In fact, her best friend even wondered who she was.

"It just seemed like something was missing," said Anna Kramer. "Krista just used to be the happiest, most positive person."

Then, Henshue went to a camp sponsored by First Descents, which takes cancer patients and survivors on intensive wilderness adventures -- with events including white water rafting -- to teach them they can survive anything. Kramer said when her friend return, she had something that she had never seen before.

Henshue said that rejuvenation comes from the understanding and camaraderie she found at camp.

"A lot of times in your everyday life, people don't know what to say or how to act towards you, and they might treat you differently," Henshue explained.

Shalini Makkar, a breast cancer survivor, said First Descents changed her life too.

"It made me realize that I'm stronger than maybe I thought," she said. "It's like you break down and then you're built up again. So, I felt stronger."

The group gathered at Vertical Endeavors to raise money to sponsor more cancer survivors on First Descent camps, saying they know the experience can do for others what it did for them.

"It just gave me my confidence back," said Henshue. "It gave me my emotional strength back -- and it gave me a whole new group of friends, which is awesome."

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