Climbing Above and Beyond Cancer


In our March e-newsletter, we shared Laurie's story of her second chordoma diagnosis (a very rare form of bone cancer), subsequent surgery and road to recovery. Four months later, she's come to a new chapter as she sets new goals and scales new heights. Here, Laurie shares her plans and invites you to join her on the journey.

As some of you may know, I will be taking a Journey to Tibet in September. I will be traveling with fellow cancer survivors and caregivers with Above + Beyond Cancer, a nonprofit group based out of Des Moines. Over the course of three weeks, we will be hiking the Himalayas and doing mission work at two hospitals in Kathmandu.

The Mission

Above + Beyond Cancer has been taking survivors and caregivers on amazing journeys since 2009! Part of their mission is to continue to elevate the lives of those touched by cancer.

Prayer flags are another aspect of Above + Beyond Cancer’s mission. You may have seen Buddhist prayer flags in someone’s office, on a bike or in the great outdoors. Each color signifies an element. Blue represents the sky, white represents the air, red symbolizes fire, green symbolizes water and yellow symbolizes earth. All five colors together signify balance. The hues also represent directions – North, South, East, West and Center.

Honoring Someone with Flags

On Above + Beyond Cancer journeys, we carry flags to honor people affected by cancer. The flags are decorated by those going through cancer, those who have survived cancer, or those left behind by someone who has passed away from cancer.

If you would like to create a flag, I would be honored to carry it for you. I will put the flags I receive in my backpack and think of each and every one of you on my daily journey. The flags will provide me with the inspiration and hope I need to make it to the top!

Releasing Your Prayers to the Wind

My destination on this trip to Tibet is to complete the Kora around Mt. Kailash, the most sacred mountain in the world. It is a 32-mile trek, which reaches an elevation of over 18,000 feet and takes three days to complete. That’s where I will unfurl the flags I’ve received from people like you. I will string them up and fly them high at Mt. Kailash to carry your prayers on the wind.

Creating Your Flag

I have flags for anyone who wants one, and they can be decorated any way you choose. I’ve seen flags with simple words and elaborate ones with pictures and stories. Anything goes.

If you’d like to pick up a flag for decorating, stop by the office anytime between 8-4:30 Monday through Friday. You can also email me at

Please have the flags back to me by August 20th so I can include them on the trip.


Everyone has a story, this just happens to be mine. And I won’t ask “why.” I’ll just ask “what am I supposed to do with this?”