Founder, Community Organization
As a boy in Montana, Brad Ludden became captivated by kayaking. While in his teens, he traveled the world to pursue the thrill of “first descents” — running courses of white water no kayaker had tackled before.
When Brad’s beloved aunt Lori Pederson was diagnosed with breast cancer, he decided to share his passion for kayaking with young adults coping with cancer. He believed that kayaking had much to offer a young person facing a terrifying diagnosis — the joy and freedom of exploring a river, the empowerment of learning a new and challenging skill, and the grandeur of nature.
Brad founded First Descents, which offers young adult cancer fighters and survivors a free outdoor adventure. They climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, reclaim their lives and connect with each other in a wilderness setting.
In 2011, First Descents hosted 27 weeklong camps in seven western states and Canada. No more than 15 attend each session, which Brad and his team conduct as a highly supportive, small group experience.
“Through First Descents,” writes one participant, “I realized that it was possible to live fully — and joyfully — after cancer.”
Help us honor the 2014 one hundredNominate Your Cancer Hero
- James C. Cusack Jr., MD
- Lazarex Foundation
- Edwin K. Lamport
- Kathy Giusti
- Eileen McGuirk’s Flash Mob
- Comprehensive Grammar School Kids Cancer Club
- Dorothy Binford
- Sailing Heals
- Bruce A. Chabner, MD
- Sandra Creamer, RN, OCN, NP, PhD
- Nancy Lee Harris, MD
- Julia Hincman-Francavilla, MS, RD, LDN, CSO
- Joel H. Schwartz, MD, FACP
- David E. Fisher, MD, PhD
- Phyllis McNally
- Lori Wirth
- Breast Intentions, Massachusetts Chapter
- Tiffany Koolakian, RTT
- Linda J. Verville Cancer Research Foundation
- Corey Jacobson
- Barry Lipsett & Charles River Apparel
- Sue de Vries Cancer Foundation
- Yi-Bin A. Chen, MD
- Uniting Against Lung Cancer
- John Murphy
- Estelle Sugarman
- Pamela Manikas Washek
- David J. Kuter, MD, Dphil
- Cristina R. Ferrone, MD
- Michelle Boutin, Karen Ingwersen, RN, and Michael Keamy
Mass General honors 100 individuals and groups for their diverse contributions to the fight against cancer.
There is strength in numbers and Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center proves this each year. the one hundred is the Cancer Center’s annual fundraiser, honoring 100 individuals and groups whose diligence and discoveries, philanthropy and passion have helped advance the fight against cancer. Funds raised at the gala support research, patient care, education and community outreach programs. Meet the Honorees.