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Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center

Mt. Everest Sendoff on March 30, 2017 from
12:00pm - 1:00pm at the Cancer Center

Lisa King Treks to Everest

In April, Lisa will be joining other cancer survivors from across the country to climb to Mt. Everest Base Camp. Her husband Kevin (of Edward Jones) will also be part of the adventure. The trek is organized by Radiating Hope, a non-profit organization with a mission to improve cancer care around the globe.

Lisa and Kevin will carry Prayer Flags that will be staked at the peak of Mt. Everest. Our community will write their messages of hope, strength, and health in honor of loved ones.

Submit a Prayer Flag Message

Submit a Message

Lisa’s Story

Lisa King, Idaho Falls. Mother. Wife. Nurse. Her first mammogram found cancer.

Lisa King is a nurse, a wife, and a mother of two beautiful little girls. She’s also a breast cancer survivor… at the age of 43.

When Lisa was 40 years old, she had just welcomed her second child into the world. She needed to get her first mammogram that year, but Lisa also knew that nursing mothers should wait 3 months after they finish nursing to have a mammogram. She waited five months.

Images from her first mammogram concerned the radiologist, so a second mammogram was ordered, followed by a breast biopsy. Lisa and her husband Kevin waited a long holiday weekend to find out the results.

“It wasn’t until 6 a.m. when I was at work that I said to one of the nurses I was working with ‘I find out in 2 hours if I have breast cancer or not.’ I hadn’t really thought about it that much until then. That was the first time I started to get a little bit nervous and think ‘what if I really do have breast cancer,” Lisa said.

When the doctor gave her the news, Lisa remembers thinking “I can’t believe she’s joking. Who would kid about this? I don’t have cancer. Then my next thought was ‘of course she’s not joking. I have cancer? How can I have cancer? I’m young, I’m healthy. I take care of myself, there’s no way.’”

Because Lisa’s mammogram caught her cancer early, Lisa was able to fight it with a lumpectomy and radiation treatment. A mastectomy was not necessary. “It was not invasive, it had not left the duct and it was all because of the mammogram that found it that early,” Lisa said.

Lisa went to radiation treatment five days a week, and for most of them, her daughters, ages 2 and 4, went with her. “The first day I came out, the doctor, the director, the nurse, the secretary, all these people were in the waiting room playing with my kids,” Lisa said. “They loved it.”

Lisa finished her treatment last October, and the team at the EIRMC Cancer Center celebrated with a dance party (complete with a disco ball and bubbles) for her Lisa, Kevin, and her daughters. “I can’t say I’ll never worry. I’ll probably be nervous when I go in for a mammogram. But I consider myself cured.”

The biggest message Lisa has for other women is the importance of getting a mammogram. “When you’re 40, get your mammogram. That’s my biggest takeaway is how important a mammogram at 40 is,” Lisa said. “Even if you don’t have a family history and consider yourself healthy, because I never would have thought that I could possibly have breast cancer.”

- components of this article reprinted with permission of Post Register


Lisa, her daughter Elena, and dog Sadie brave the snow and ice to walk the Greenbelt with a weighted backpack and hiking boots!

Prayer flags represent hope for the people who are honored on them. Honor someone in your life by submitting a prayer flag request.

Lisa and Kevin continue their rigorous workout schedule on the Stairclimber.

It's time to go full gear in winter! Lisa and Kevin took an 8-mile winter walk with their Everest backpacks.

Cold weather training continues- snowshoeing at Grand Targhee

Lisa’s Blog

One Month to go!

It's hard to believe that we leave for Kathmandu in 4 weeks! We found out we were going in September, and April seemed so far away. It seemed like plenty of time to get in shape and collect all of the gear we need. The time has gone by quickly, but it has been fun to see how far we've come physically, and it's always fun to have an excuse to buy new gear!

Kevin and I have known each other for 12 years and have done a lot of hikes and adventures (especially pre-kids), but neither of us have ever done anything like this. Trekking in Nepal has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember. I never dreamed that I would literally be given this amazing opportunity, thanks to EIRMC and Radiating Hope!

Training, oh the training! Two hours a day at the gym is not easy, but I'm hoping it's enough to prepare my body. I do believe variety is the spice of life, and I mix up what I do everyday. I look forward most to yoga a couple of days per week, certainly not because it's the easiest thing I do but because I love the teacher and the challenge. Tammy at Apple Athletic Club is the best and also the hardest!

Another activity I enjoy is walking to City Bagels downtown from our house. It is fun because I go with either Heidi or my family, and it's rewarding to have a delicious bagel sandwich in the middle of the walk. This is also with my backpack weighted and hiking boots on. We cover 6-8 miles through rain, snow or ice.

I have a love/hate relationship with the stair climber. I look forward to it least because it's so painful, but it's probably prepared me for the trek more than any other single thing I've done. It is more tolerable when Heidi joins me, because our conversation is a good distraction. The treadmill at a 20% incline with a weighted backpack and hiking boots is "fun."

And then there's our personal trainer, Lisa at Apple. Something is sore after every session, in a good way.

This weekend we went snowshoeing at Grand Targhee. I had it much easier than Kevin though, he carried our 34 pound, 3-year-old in a backpack. The scenery was much better than at the gym!

Can't wait for the real thing! More to come soon on gear…

Things I've learned about the Everest Base Camp trek:

Here’s some random thoughts I’ve learned about this amazing trek that Kevin and I are preparing for!

We fly into Kathmandu to acclimatize for 2 nights but the elevation of Kathmandu is less than Idaho Falls.

We then fly from Kathmandu to the Lukla airport and start trekking. It is rated the most dangerous airport in the world and only eight pilots in the world are qualified to land there.  It’s a STOL (short take-off and landing) airstrip. There’s a mountain at the northern end of the runway and a steeply angled drop at the southern end of the runway into the valley below.

Our guide (Sherpa) has summited Everest 15 times and set the world record for the fastest time to summit, 10 hours and 56 minutes!

We do a prayer flag ceremony at base camp. It is traditionally believed that as the mountain winds blow the flags, the fragile threads drift away into the breeze, that each thread sends off a prayer of hope, strength, and well-being for the people they honor.

Our bags for the porter/yak must be rugged and waterproof because they often fall off into snow/dirt/mud/water.

Bring baby wipes since there will be no showering!

Bring very warm sleeping bag since teahouses in the villages along the trail are not heated. Water bottle will freeze through the night.

I have to wear sunglasses all day to prevent eyes from “sun burning.”

Been told to wear merino wool instead of polypro… so we stink less (remember that no showering problem!)

It’s recommend that we drink at least five liters of water every day, and we need to bring “flavoring” powders for water since the water from the Himalayas tastes bad.

I was told “expect to get some intestinal issue at some point - everyone does”.  Bring Imodium!

Alcohol and sleeping pills can kill you at altitude.  Most people suffer from altitude insomnia.

Travel above 8,200’ comes with the risks of developing acute mountain sickness, high altitude cerebral edema and high altitude pulmonary edema.  We hike from 9,350’ to 18,000’!

There is half the available oxygen at 18,000’ as compared to sea level.

For preparation, the altitude at which one sleeps is more important than the altitude reached during the waking hours.

Sherpas’ blood is chemically more efficient at carrying oxygen then the blood of lowland people.

“Yak traffic” is a real thing and a real danger!  They sometimes get ornery and “bump” people off the trail. Always stay on the uphill side when passing a yak. This sounds a little like our advice to Yellowstone visitors!

There have been dozens of “yeti” sightings, also known as “abominable snowman!”

We walk across 7 suspension bridges, some sketchier than others.

FYI - for only $25,000 US dollars you can parachute jump over Everest’s peak!

Interesting fact: the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal moved the entire mountain 3cm to the southwest.

The scenery and the experience are amazing!

The Crazy Effects of Altitude on the Body

As a nurse, I'm fascinated by the physiological affects of altitude on the body. Travel above 8,200' comes with the risks of developing acute mountain sickness (AMS), high altitude cerebral edema and high altitude pulmonary edema. We hike from 9,350' to 18,000'! There is half the available oxygen at 18,000' compared to sea level, and decreasing air pressure at altitude causes liquid to leak from capillaries into the lungs and brain, which can be fatal. Almost everyone trekking above 13,123' experiences some symptoms of mild altitude sickness. It's difficult to predict who will be affected by high altitude. Olympic athletes have been severely limited by symptoms of AMS while less fit elderly people are hardly touched.

AMS- Acute Mountain Sickness is the most common form of altitude illness. Symptoms include headache, nausea/vomiting, fatigue, dizziness and difficulty sleeping. The best way to prevent AMS is to acclimate properly by ascending slowly once above 9,843'. Less than 1,640' per day sleeping elevation is recommended. The altitude at which one sleeps is more important than the altitude reached during the waking hours. Rest days where there is no increase in sleeping elevation should be every 3-4 days. We only have 1 rest day instead of 3 on our way up, and I am not exactly sure why? My husband looked into buying an elevation training mask to wear when training, but a medical journal that I read stated that short-term exposures to hypoxia (not enough oxygen) are not helpful in pre-acclimatizing. Acetazolamide and Dexamethasone are the most common drugs used prophylactically to prevent AMS. The best treatment for AMS and HACE is descent. Descend until symptoms resolve which is usually after going down 984' to 3281'. If unable to descend, treat with oxygen.

HACE- High Altitude Cerebral Edema is an extreme form of AMS. HACE occurs when the brain swells. It includes the same symptoms as AMS but also includes confusion, altered mental status and problems with movement and balance. The classic "drunk test" can be done on someone suspected of having HAPE. If they cannot walk heel-to-toe in a straight line, they are within hours of unconsciousness. Immediate descent, dexamethasone and oxygen are treatments.

HAPE- High Altitude Pulmonary Edema occurs when fluid accumulates in the lungs because the arteries in the lungs develop high pressure due to low oxygen. Symptoms include shortness of breath at rest, fast and/or shallow breathing, frothy cough, blue lips or fingernails, extreme fatigue/drowsiness and chest tightness. Treatment is immediate descent and oxygen.

Khumbu cough, named after an area in the Everest region- Also known as the high altitude hack. It is caused by low humidity and cold temperatures at altitude and triggered by overexertion. Membranes dry out and causes irritation which results in a violent cough that can tear chest muscles or fracture ribs.

Altitude insomnia- Almost everyone has difficulty sleeping at altitude. Sleeping pills (as well as alcohol) can be dangerous because they slow the respiratory rate. Cheyne Stokes breathing is an odd breathing pattern that consists of cycles of normal breathing, then slow breathing, then breath-holding followed by rapid breathing. This breathing pattern develops due to the build-up of carbon dioxide and lack of oxygen in the blood. Dramatic changes take place in the body's chemistry and fluid balance during acclimatization. Altitude also causes the kidneys to excrete more fluid (making you pee more, especially at night), making the blood more concentrated and able to carry more oxygen.

Our hope is that we're immune to all of this craziness and we feel fantastic!

The Climb

Day 1: KATHMANDU | 4,383’

Arrive in Kathmandu and spend the night.

Day 2: KATHMANDU | 4,383’

Situated in a bowl shaped valley in central Nepal, Kathmandu is the largest city in Nepal and the cosmopolitan heart of the Himalayan Region. Today is the first chance to explore Kathmandu’s rich and diverse culture with a city tour including the Boudhanath Stupa, Pashupatinath, and Swayambunath - the Monkey Temple. The rest of the day is spent enjoying the city and local cuisine. Overnight in Kathmandu.

Day 3: PHAKDING | 8,700’

Lukla (9,350’) to Phakding (8,700’). Trekking time is approximately 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Fly to Lukla, the village where our trek to Everest Base Camp begins. The airport in Lukla is the Tenzing Norgay Airport, and landing on the STOL (Short Takeoff and Landing) runway is an experience in itself. It is usually very busy in Lukla as different expeditions are getting everything organized for the trek. From here on out, there are no more vehicles or roads, just a network of villages connected by footpaths. After the group meets the Sherpa team, they start trekking along the Dudh Kosi River as they travel to Phakding. They spend the night at a small teahouse on the bank of the milky-blue Dudh Kosi. Overnight in lodge.

Day 4 & 5: NAMCHE BAZAAR | 11,300’

Phakding (8,700’) to Namche Bazaar (11,300’). Trekking time is 4 1/2 to 5 hours.

Hike to historic Namche Bazaar, the gateway to the high Himalayas and the Sherpa community’s central meeting place. Namche is where lowland porters bearing supplies meet the highland Sherpa and Tibetan people who have journeyed over high passes from many miles away to trade food and supplies. Namche’s busy shops, delicious bakeries, and jovial feel are a welcome sight after making the long climb up from the valley floor below. Overnight in lodge.

Day 6: DEBOCHE | 12,325’

Namche Bazaar (11,300’) to Deboche (12,325’). Trekking time is approximately 4 to 5 hours.

They leave Namche and climb up the valley to Tengboche, the largest Sherpa monastery in the Khumbu area. From the monastery’s front steps there are excellent views of Everest, Lhotse, Nuptse, and Ama Dablam. They descend from the ridge where the monastery is located into the quiet forest of fir and rhododendron below surrounding our teahouse in Deboche. Overnight in lodge.

Day 7: PHERICHE | 13,950’

Deboche (12,325’) to Pheriche (13,950’). Trekking time is approximately 3 1/2 to 4 hours.

Hike to Pheriche via the small village of Pangboche. They follow the Imja River which flows directly east of the village to Pangboche, a large Sherpa village at the foot of Ama Dablam. In Pangboche they visit Lama Geshe, a renowned spiritual leader of the area, to receive a blessing for their travels in the mountains before continuing along the river to Pheriche. Overnight in lodge.

Day 8: LOBUCHE | 16,175’

Pheriche (13,950’) to Lobuche (16,175’). Trekking time is approximately 4 to 5 hours.

They ascend to the village of Lobuche, tucked below Lobuche Peak. The trail takes them past the memorials for climbers made up of dozens of large rock stupas and strings of prayer flags at the top of Thokla Pass. Along the way, they’ll leave the last of the large vegetation and enter into the alpine zone and the trail may have a covering of snow from here. Overnight in lodge.

Day 9: GORAK SHEP | 16,950’

Lobuche (16,175’) to Gorak Shep (16,950’). Trekking time is approximately 3 hours.

Leaving Lobuche to walk parallel to the lower reaches of the Khumbu Glacier until they cross over the rocky moraine of the Khangri Glacier into Gorak Shep, the final outpost before Everest Base Camp. In the afternoon they climb to the summit Kala Patar, a small peak with stunning views of Everest. Overnight in lodge.

Day 10: EVEREST BASE CAMP | 17,575’

Gorak Shep (16,950’) to Everest Base Camp (17,575’). Trekking time is approximately 3 hours.

They complete the last stretch of our trek, leaving the dirt and grasses of the mountainous valley and setting out across the ice and rock of the Khumbu Glacier into Everest Base Camp. Overnight in tents.

Day 11: PHERICHE | 13,950’

Everest Base Camp (17,575’) to Pheriche (13,950’). Trekking time is approximately 5 to 6 hours.

They make an early departure from Base Camp, leaving the Khumbu Glacier descending back down the valley to Pheriche for some “thick” air and a good night’s sleep. Overnight in lodge.

Day 12: NAMCHE BAZAAR | 11,300’

Pheriche (13,950’)/Phortse (13,000’) to Namche Bazaar (11,300’). Trekking time is approximately 5 to 8 hours.

As they descend the smells of the pine forests and blooming rhododendrons overwhelm the senses after so many days up high. In Namche they treat ourselves to much deserved yak steaks, beer, and pastries. After Everest Base Camp, the narrow streets of Namche feel like a big city! Overnight in lodge.

Day 13: LUKLA | 9,350’

Namche Bazaar (11,300’) to Lukla (9,350’). Trekking time is approximately 5 - 7 hours.

The last day on the trail. They hike down from Namche to Lukla, crossing the eleven swaying suspension bridges over the Dudh Kosi and re-entering the fertile valleys of the lower Khumbu. Overnight in lodge.

Day 14: KATHMANDU | 4,383’

The scenic morning flight back to Kathmandu gives one last chance to say farewell to the mountains. The afternoon in Kathmandu is open for exploring or just relaxing. Overnight in Kathmandu.


Arrive home.


The mission of Radiating Hope is to update and provide cancer care to developing countries. Cancer continues to be a leading cause of death in developing countries and it is because they simply lack proper treatment machines. Radiating Hope improves cancer care by providing life-saving radiation machines and training, and they organizing mountain climbing treks with cancer survivors to show the world that we all can do hard things! This group will climb to the base camp of Mount Everest, and in the process, help the Nepalese (and other developing countries) overcome cancer!

Support the Cause

Submit a Prayer Flag Message

Tibetan Prayer Flags symbolize hope, strength, and well-being for the people honored on them. The Flags were originally used by shamans in healing ceremonies, and now, they are placed at high mountain peaks across the globe.

Tell us who you would like to honor and we’ll write your special tribute message on a prayer flag. Lisa and her group will carry the flags to Mt. Everest for a ceremony at base camp. As the fragile flags blow in the high winds, they slowly unravel, each thread blowing away into the wind as a prayer of hope, strength, and health for the person it honors.

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