TEAM FIRST DESCENTS
The Wishlist Foundation
Midge & Jack Nelson
Three Wire Systems
June and Len Halio
Karen & Greg Walson
Tater & Nut Cup Wilson
The Dillon Family
The Wishlist Foundation
Midge & Jack Nelson
By 2012, Kristen Schraven Mawn was considered “cancer free.” She had spent the entire previous year battling breast cancer with rounds of chemo, surgery and radiation. Kristen was a young adult who fought cancer vigorously and was looking forward to feeling “normal” again.
On the path to her new normal, Kristen applied to participate in an outdoor adventure though First Descents (FD). FD is an organization that offers young adult cancer fighters and survivors a free outdoor adventure experience designed to empower them to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same. So, in June 2012 Kristen headed to the Outer Banks of North Carolina and it was there, through FD that she learned much more than just how to surf. FD participants choose nicknames for themselves for the week and fittingly, Kristen chose “Hardcore.”
This video does a much better job of showing you what FD is all about than a few paragraphs could – and as an added bonus, you will get a glimpse of Kristen!
When Kristen returned from the Outer Banks, she was renewed and looking to the future. She began planning her wedding, spending time in NH, and talking about her next FD trip (she was eyeing surfing in Santa Barbara). FD became a huge highlight in what had been a very tough year and a half for her.
It is here that we wish we had a better ending to Kristen’s story. In August 2012, just two months after surfing in the Outer Banks, after discussing a persistent cough with her doctor, a biopsy revealed the breast cancer cells had metastasized to her lungs. Like she had before, Kristen faced her cancer head on and fought it so bravely until the end of her treatment. She brought home her loving dog Henna in September 2012 and married the love of her life, Frank Mawn, in November 2012. Kristen Ellen Schraven Mawn passed away March 16th, 2013.
Since Kristen’s passing, we have talked about how we can perpetuate Kristen’s memory and honor the amazing woman we all loved so dearly. We have chosen to sponsor camps with FD – an organization that meant so much to Kristen. We believe that we, Kristen’s friends and family, can have a huge impact with this organization and, perhaps more importantly, in the lives of other young adults with cancer. Our mission is to help others realize the FD motto, to be “Out Living It.”
Given that participation in a FD adventure comes at no cost to attendees, each week long trip is made possible through sponsorship. All in, a weeklong FD event for 15 participants costs $25,000 to operate. Initially, our goal was to sponsor a camp in Kristen’s honor. The choice was easy - to sponsor the Santa Barbara excursion for it was where Kristen wanted to go next. We quickly decided, however, that we wanted, no that we needed, to do more – to create a living legacy for Kristen and establish a camp bearing her FD name: Kamp Hardcore. A new FD camp will help pull people off their waiting list – currently over 1000 people.
Our goal, therefore, is two-fold:
1. To sponsor the 2013 Santa Barbara camp
2. Establish a new camp in Kristen’s honor to begin in 2014.
- Planning is still in the early stages, but we are hoping for the camp to be in North Conway, NH, a place very near and dear to Kristen’s heart.
We need your support to raise $50,000 over the course of the next 9 months. Each contribution, big or small, will help empower young adults living with cancer to go beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the same.
Kristen was an example to all of us for how to live. No matter what cancer threw at her, it didn’t stop her from surfing, from traveling, from smiling and giggling, it didn’t stop her from getting married…it didn’t stop her from living.
For some inspiration – Hardcore is mentioned: http://firstdescents.org/inspiration/
Kristen Schraven Mawn was an amazing wife, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin, niece, friend and so much more. To try to describe her vibrant and full of life personality to anyone who hadn’t met her is quite a challenge. Kristen was an easy friend - someone who made even those who had just met her feel like they’d know each other for years, or a lifetime. She was quick to laugh, always up for an adventure, sincere and generous with her hugs and, more so, her time. She was pragmatic and giving and would keep her schedule packed if it meant making time to spend with her family and friends. She followed her dreams.
Kristen was a Massachusetts native, born in Worcester, graduating from Boston Latin School and then Babson College, where she was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority as well as the varsity swim and rugby teams. She loved to travel and spent a 3-month period post college living in and exploring Ireland.
Kristen pursed a career in kitchen and bath design, which satisfied her need to address “spatial issues.” One of her favourite places in the world was Hull, where she spent countless hours on the sea wall with friends and family. Kristen loved the water – whether it was on Jeff’s boat, floating in a pool with friends and cocktails, taking a bath to cure a hangover, or learning how to surf in the Outer Banks through FD – she took every opportunity to be on, in, or near it.
Help us continue to celebrate Kristen’s life and keep her spirit alive.
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