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.”
Celebrate the one hundred 2014Join Us on June 10
- Friends of Jaclyn
- Cristina R. Ferrone, MD
- Dorothy Binford
- Brian N. Napolitano
- Vicki A. Jackson, MD, MPH
- Mary F. Fay, RN, BSN, OCN
- Michelle Boutin, Karen Ingwersen, RN, and Michael Keamy
- Barry Lipsett & Charles River Apparel
- Richard L. Deming, MD
- Teagan Stedman
- Robert Howe
- David E. Fisher, MD, PhD
- Stephanie Quinn, MSW, LICSW
- Karen J. Krag, MD
- Sailing Heals
- Tyler Jacks, PhD
- Donna Karan and the Urban Zen Foundation
- Harrison Strickler
- Rose M. Watson
- St. Mary’s High School Baseball Team
- Kailie Laflamme, LICSW
- Chad Juros
- Kevin S. Oh, MD
- Comprehensive Grammar School Kids Cancer Club
- Farrah Fawcett and the Farrah Fawcett Foundation
- Pamela Manikas Washek
- Jennifer E. D’Alotto, MSW, LCSW
- Uniting Against Lung Cancer
- Mary Philopoulos
- Steve Beauville
Mass General honors 100 individuals and groups for their diverse contributions to the fight against cancer. Meet the Honorees.