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Entrepreneur’s climb raises money for cancer

Chris Henrickson on Mount St. Helens ClimbWhen Chris Henrickson climbed his first mountain — Mount St. Helens in 2008 — he “got the bug to start climbing” and found a new hobby. An avid hiker and outdoorsman, he decided that while climbing a major mountain every year, he should do something that would help his community.

This year, as he prepared to take on Mount Adams at the end of August, Henrickson dedicated his climb to his father, Glen, who died in 2001 at age 52 from metastatic melanoma. Henrickson set a goal to raise $5,000 through his climb for Harrison Medical Center.

“My dad received prompt, attentive, and knowledgeable care,” he said of Harrison Medical Center’s cancer program. “I just want to make sure that cancer care is ever-evolving at Harrison.”

Henrickson, 32, grew up in Silverdale. His father was an outstanding local business leader who participated in the Bremerton Rotary for many years, was a member of the Kitsap Golf & Country Club, past board member of the Harrison Foundation, and past board member of the Washington State Funeral Directors Association. He was president and owner of Bremerton’s Lewis Funeral Chapel & Forest Lawn Cemetery and The Stone Chapel Poulsbo Mortuary at Cherry Grove Memorial Park.

Henrickson continues as president and co-owner of the family-owned business today. He has helped out at the business since he was a teen, and returned to work for the business in 1999 after going off to college to obtain a business administration degree. Just a few months later, his father was diagnosed with cancer.

“I was thrust into running the entire business,” he said. Other family members involved include his mother, Janean, and his sister Lynn Fermstad.

Henrickson said one aspect he likes about the family business is that the company is successful and is able to give back, sponsoring groups such as the Kitsap Bluejackets. The business also has been involved with Harrison’s Festival of Tree fundraiser for 20 years. The “Climb for Cancer Care” fit well with that philosophy of giving.

“I wanted to do something for the (Harrison) Foundation in my father’s name for cancer care education efforts,” he said. “’Climb for Cancer Care’ was my vision.”

Mount Adams, with a summit elevation of 12,276 feet, is the second most massive and the third tallest volcano in the Cascade mountain range.

Due to adverse conditions, Henrickson had to stop short of the summit during his two-day endeavor, but he plans to return next year to finish the ascent. He also would like to pursue Mount Rainier next year.

“This is something that can touch a broader group because anyone can give a dollar or $5,” he said. “It’s something more people can be part of, and help patients fighting cancer locally in Kitsap County.”

Henrickson was able to raise nearly $4,000 toward his $5,000 goal, and pledges are still being accepted. For information about making a tax-deductible donation, call the Harrison Foundation at 360-744-6760, go to www.harrisonfoundation.org/events/cancer_climb.php or download a pledge form at www.lewischapel.com.

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