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I always had the sense that I would do something bigger than I could ever imagine with my life – what that was and how I would find it was always the mystery. I spent my life living by the motto “Everything happens for a reason”. I took risks that most people would shy away from. And, when opportunities were presented I always asked myself “Why not?”. If I could not come up with a valid reason, I always went for it all the while knowing that it would lead somewhere.

By nature I am an adventurer, organizer, and brain-stormer with a passion for traveling, music, laughter and helping others. In the course of my search for my future, I have led expeditions in Kenya, run a boutique hotel and private nightclub, built a brand for a Big 5 accounting firm, designed ads, logos and menus for bars and restaurants, and met some truly fascinating people along the way.

I knew I wanted to get involved in fighting cancer ever since my brother successfully battled testicular cancer in his 20’s but the thought of working for a big foundation raising money earmarked for the pharmaceutical industry- while a worthy cause – didn’t quite appeal to me.

While living in Africa, I saw how the most basic medical supplies could make a world of difference. I saw how we had so many tools to fight disease in our world yet so many of them were not available in the third world. I realized that the tools to survival were becoming more and more available but organizations fighting the cure were overlooking the implementation of education and treatments in third world countries.

As a result, thousands of people die, not because they have to, but because the systems of educating, screening and treating those affected by disease are often broken. One day I mentioned these issues to customers of mine, and as fate would have it, they knew of musicians looking to do a concert on the top of Mt Everest to benefit cancer in a real way and I knew I had found my calling. Music, adventure, cancer care it was all there. Somehow, while not looking for it, everything had happened for a reason and the founders asked me to make their dream of a cancer care for all a reality. I quickly asked myself a very familiar question, ‘Why Not?’.

Just two short years later we have hiked to, and performed benefit concerts on, 6 continents including such destinations as Everest, Machu Picchu and the top of the Empire State Building. We have brought awareness to millions through our documentary work, registered thousands to the national marrow database and purchased life-saving equipment for countries in need. This includes the first radiation and mammography machine for the country of Nepal and the first mobile cancer unit for Peru.

So I say to you…if you are presented with an opportunity that seems too daunting, too farfetched or too insane, ask yourself a simple question, “Why not?”. You just never know when that next leap of faith will happen for a reason.

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Shannon is the executive director of Love Hope Strength. Shannon’s younger brother, Ryan, was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 23. Later that same year she lost her grandfather to cancer. Thanks to 2 aggressive surgeries and chemotherapy, Ryan has successfully beaten cancer, received his MBA and is living in Austin, TX (way too far from his sister!).

Prior to joining LHS, Shannon was General Manager of Denver’s Jet Hotel, Manager of Marketing, Events and Corporate Sales for Public House Ltd and Director of Brand Identity for the accounting firm, Grant Thornton. In 2002, Shannon moved to Kenya for an independent brand development project with Tradition Safaris. Shannon received her BS in Marketing from Boston College. She currently resides in Denver, CO.

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