- Written by Dan Kneip
- Category: Mountain Characters
- Published: March 12, 2015
Editor's Note: As some of you already know, Lisa Moulding, the popular 34-year-old server at the on-mountain Mazot Eatery at Mt. Hood Meadows, has been diagnosed with Stage IV stomach cancer. The mountain community is rallying behind her and raising money to help Lisa through the ordeal she faces. Cancer survivor and Mount Hood regular Dan Kneip offers this personal story about Lisa, from his perspective. Dan and Lisa's friend Sean Jacks contributed the photos.
The 7 years immediately following my colon cancer diagnosis in the fall of 2006 were some of the most difficult years of my life.
16 surgeries and over 110 in-patient hospital days later, I am now an 8-year cancer survivor. After that experience I cry whenever I hear of someone else I know diagnosed with any type of cancer. I find myself thinking how they have no idea what they are in for. Our treatment options today seem so barbaric. Radiation, Chemotherapy and surgery isn't an easy path to go down. So I have been particularly devastated over my good friend Lisa Moulding's recent stage IV stomach cancer diagnosis. This beautiful lady is only 34 years old. Cancer is not supposed to show up at that age.
Lisa has been working at the Mazot on Mount Hood for a number of years now, so most of you Meadows regulars probably know her. She is such a friendly, outgoing person, her personality has helped make the Mazot what it is. She is a big reason people stop in, just to have a beer and say hi to Lisa. It’s such a positive vibe when she is around, you want to be around her. She makes you feel good.
I've kind of been a regular at the Mazot over the last decade and they treat me like a brother there, especially Lisa. She was so supportive of me when I was going through my journey. She was especially excited when I would show up with some new medical devices hanging on me and strapped to the ski gear. Chemo pump, abdominal drains, PICC line with an antibiotic, I pretty much did it all. I guess I made an impression that I was a determined skier. And a fighter. Someone who wasn't going to let a lot of days go by without getting out and doing it! Whatever that is that makes your day. And that describes Lisa so well. I actually think she makes me look boring, which pisses me off — and motivates me to seek out new adventures, just like she has always done. I was especially happy for her when she met her boyfriend Kerry a few years ago, such a wonderful, happy, outgoing couple they make. It brings joy to my heart.
In the spring of 2012 I made it back to the mountain after a particularly difficult, life-threatening surgery. It was the day of Mazot Fest, and I will never forget it. I actually ran that (little) race course, even though I was not supposed to be skiing yet. Lisa and her best friend, ex-Mazot Manager Savannah Furr, surprised me that weekend. During some of the action an announcement came on that they had a special award to give out. I had noticed Fred Noble (RIP Fred, we love you) was up, and I assumed they were doing something for Fred, because he earned it and more over the years of course. When they announced my name I was thinking, what the hell! Lisa and Savannah had planned a surprise all right. They gave me my own bar stool, the one with my name and "Surrender the Booty" plaque that is up there now (I have that pirate flag on my RV and car when not up in the RV). A Meadows jacket, with my name embroidered, a plaque for the RV. Those ladies made me feel like a million bucks that day! I think they bought me a beer too.
That's Lisa on the left, me in the middle and Savvanah on the right.
I heard about Lisa’s diagnosis about a month ago, and I was devastated. I know she has been through some rough treatments, including more than a week of daily radiation. She is also waiting to find out whether she can get into a clinical trial with some experimental treatments that have potential.
Those radiation treatments are brutal. I’ve had people tell me they are worse than Chemo. I went through both at the same time, so I couldn’t really tell which was f’ing me up more. I finally ended up about three quarters of the way through Chemo where my skin was peeling off and I could hardly walk. I called my friend Shannon one night in December of 2006 and told her I couldn’t get up from laying in front of the fireplace to make something to eat. She came over and cooked me a nice dinner and helped me out. The next day the doctors took my chemo pump off. I was insistent that I try to make it through to 100%, but the oncologist said, “We have to keep you alive for your surgery,” so I relented.
Lisa has told me more than once that I am her inspiration to find the right treatments, and to get through this. I didn't start out to be an inspiration to others, but it really makes me happy to hear her tell me that. I know she has the same strength and more, and she will be a super inspiration to many others.
So a bunch of us, and Lisa has so many good friends, decided she needed some help and support. Because you know, you kind of feel helpless when you can't help fix the problem. And Lisa has always given. She was always one of our top fundraisers at the Hope on the Slopes fund-raiser to fight cancer at Skibowl.
Fortunately Lisa has health insurance through her main job at the Departure Restaurant at the Nines Hotel in downtown Portland. But she has a high deductible health plan with an annual out of pocket maximum that would be hard for most of us to handle in one year. And her income will be very challenged while she is going through treatments. So several of her good friends, Savannah Furr, Lou Zazueta & Sarah Kuehl, set up a fundraising site to help defray the costs ahead.
My friend Stacy Larsen also came up with the idea of a Trucker’s Cap, and our friend Shannon Halda-Wipf has a friend at Oregon Screen Impressions, who gave us a really sweet deal on 400 #Love4Lisa hats. We're selling the hats all over the mountain for a suggested donation of $20, to show our support and raise money for Lisa. Because we really love our Lisa, and we look forward to spending a long time with her.
One of the lessons I learned from my battle with cancer is that we live in a bunch of communities: your work community, your family, your mountain community, your friends. And it’s just great to see all those communities coming together to help out someone who is in a real bind. I used to be a seriously independent person. I didn’t realize the value of those communities. I sure do now.