Boarding for Breast Cancer celebrated its 25th anniversary on Thursday night at Copper Mountain, following the first day of Dew Tour snowboard competition.
The organization was founded in 1996 by Lisa Hudson and pro snowboarders Tina Basich and Shannon Dunn after the death of their friend Monica Steward, a snowboard industry pioneer who co-founded Bonfire Outerwear in 1989.
B4BC has been a Dew Tour partner since the very first event in 2005. Anyone who has ever been at a Dew Tour event has had an opportunity to visit the B4BC outreach tent to meet with athlete ambassadors, learn about the importance of maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle as the best means of breast cancer prevention, and, yes, touch some silicon anatomical models of breasts to learn how to detect cancerous lumps early: it’s one of the most popular activities in the Dew Tour partner village at every event.
“Breast cancer, when caught in Stage 1, is 98 percent curable, so we’ve been teaching a bunch of kids how to touch boobs from like 1996 on, many of them 14-year-old boys who are getting to touch them for the first time,” Hudson said on Thursday. “The benefit of being around for 25 years is that now we get guys who come up and say, ‘Hey, I learned how to touch boobs from you when I was 15 and now I’m 30 and I just caught breast cancer in my wife and we caught it early and she’s going to be okay.’ The fact that 30 percent of lumps are found by partners is all the more reason for everyone in this room to come by our booth this weekend and learn what a lump feels like.”
B4BC’s mission is, unfortunately, as relevant as ever: Hudson shared a statistic from the stage that 1 in 8 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. And it’s still striking hard in the snowboarding and action sports community: one week before the 25th anniversary, longtime B4BC athlete ambassador Kimmy Fasani announced that she was diagnosed with breast cancer in late November, after detecting a lump while breastfeeding her son Zeppelin. Hudson and B4BC staffers Megan Pischke and Maggie Gonzalez dedicated Thursday’s celebration to Fasani and her family.
Snowboarder editor Mary Walsh opened the night by putting the value B4BC’s education efforts have now had on multiple generations of the action sports community into perspective.
“Twenty five years is a very long time – two and a half decades if my math is correct, a quarter of a century – and if any of you guys, like me, started snowboarding in the late 90s, early 2000s, there’s never been a time that you didn’t know that self checks are important,” Walsh said. “There’s never been a time that you didn’t understand that young people, both men and women, could get breast cancer. And there’s never been a time that you didn’t understand that the best form of prevention is a healthy and active lifestyle. It’s weird to think that before 1996 this wasn’t common knowledge in our community, but that’s the way that it was. In the last 25 years, these individuals, their athletes, their volunteers, and the Boarding for Breast Cancer staff have made these things common knowledge.”
Jamie Anderson, an 11-time Dew Tour winner and the defending 2020 Dew Tour Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle gold medalist, was on hand for the festivities.
“I first learned about B4BC when I was 12 years old,” Anderson said. “My home mountain, Sierra-at-Tahoe, hosted the most legendary event with a party, Blink-182, breast cancer awareness… I was like, ‘Okay!’ I didn’t even have boobs at the time! I can’t say how important our health is – it’s our true wealth… Life is precious and all we have is today and this moment. I think it’s so important to support amazing foundations like B4BC.”
Anderson is one of the current B4BC athlete ambassadors, alongside Fasani, Dew Tour legends Elena Hight, Torah Bright, Hana Beaman, and Kaityln Farrington, and other snowboarders including Mary Rand and Ty Walker. Other current B4BC ambassadors include skatejboarders Leticia Bufoni, Mimi Knoop, and Allysha Le; surfers Courtney Conlogue, Kelia Moniz, Liz Clark, Malia Manuel, and Leila Hurst; wakeboarders Meagan Ethell, Tarak Mikacich, and Melissa Maquardt; and climber Katie Jo Myers.
Thursday’s party featured a brief documentary video about the history of B4BC, a charity auction and raffle to benefit the organization’s outreach efforts and programs, and a rousing punk rock performance by Clash cover band The Nuns of Brixton.
B4BC will be set up at Copper Mountain’s Burning Stones Plaza, at the base of the American Eagle chairlift, through Sunday at Dew Tour. Upcoming B4BC outreach events include Love your Peaks tour stops at ski areas including Camelback Resort (January 15, 2022); Copper Mountain (February 5); Loon Mountain (February 12); Taos Ski Valley (March 13); and Grand Targhee Resort (March 19).
For more information about donating to support the organization, volunteer opportunities, education and survivorship programs, or to shop for B4BC-branded gear from Boarding for Breast Cancer partners, visit B4BC.org.
Sound off in the comments below!