As Rock climbers you would’ve had to have lived under a rock for the last year not to see Climbers against Cancer, or CAC as it is more commonly known spring onto the climbing scene.
CAC tee shirts, hoodies and patches have invaded the internet in unprecedented numbers. Watch a world cup you’ll see it, watch your favorite climbers new clip on vimeo and chances are there it is again. Go to the climbing gym to escape the internet and guess what that girl sitting on the bench is wearing? That’s right, yet another CAC tee shirt!
So what is CAC and why the hype? CAC is the brain child of Englishman John Ellison. Last year John was told that, still in his 40’s, he had been diagnosed with incurable prostate cancer. Now I’m sure most of us at some stage have wondered what we would do if we were confronted with our own mortality? Indeed as climbers many of us have been in the position to confront that mortality, but always on our own terms, by our own choice.
John never got given that choice.
John had a teenaged daughter that was going to lose her father, he had friends all over the climbing world, he had lived his life as a popular well-known figure in the British climbing community. Yet now, in his hour of need he was told there was no cure, it was cancer, it was one of those things and “sorry Mr Ellison, there’s nothing we can do…”
So when confronted by his mortality John stepped up and chose to confront cancer, chose to make a difference. So it came to pass that Climbers against Cancer was born as a charity. The money raised through the charity is being donated directly to research facilities around the world. Every item purchased through CAC raising money to battle the insidious evil which is cancer.
John has worked tirelessly for the charity since it’s inception. Spreading the word about the fight against cancer, sharing the message that although it can be a death sentence cancer is not an excuse to stop living.
Many times I will get messages from John working on some initiative or another, up all hours of the night, unable to sleep from the pain and so carrying on working through it. Knowing I’m working on the magazine and that I’ll be wide awake on this side of the world John will drop me a message, checking how I’m going with the magazine and sharing new initiatives he’s involved in with CAC. One of those has just been announced and I’m here today spreading the word on behalf of CAC.
What people may not realise is that CAC is more than just John. One of the trustees is the young British climbing star Shauna Coxey. Shauna was asked by American Pro Alex Johnson if she would take part in a fun, 50’s pin up style photo shoot. Straight away Shauna was excited about the idea and thought about doing a calendar for CAC, something fresh and original that would get people’s attention.
Working with the photographer Caroline Treadway and the designer Ben Jones the CAC 2014 calendar is the realization of that vision. The result of many, many hours shooting some of the world’s top female climbers the CAC 2014 calendar reflects the beauty and diversity of the climbing culture. The athletes have come together from different countries, representing different sponsors yet all sharing a belief in CAC.
The CAC 2014 Calendar has been announced today and will be available to purchase soon. For more details click through to the CAC website and read about it there. Each of the 12 monthly photos is a work of art in its own right capturing the athletes as you’ve never seen them before.
A huge congratulations to Shauna, Alex, John and all the others who have poured so much of their time into bringing this project to where it is today. Fantastic work guys!