Cancer recently took our incredible, strong, brave friend Jeanette Woldseth from us. She was a pioneer in so many ways. Back in the late 1970s, she became the first professional female firefighter in Washington State. She retired after a very successful 25 year career, ascending the rank of Captain during her tenure with the department. In retirement, she was busy traveling, playing soccer on a number of different teams, and spending time with her family and many friends. In 2010, Jeanette was diagnosed and treated for early stage breast cancer, yet 2 years later she received the devastating news that her cancer had metastasized to her liver.
She soon after started volunteering with Fred Hutch, and through this learned about a new fundraising event they were starting called Obliteride. Jeanette had never been a cyclist, but decided to participate in this inaugural ride. During her initial training, she didn't understand why she was so exhausted and it was discovered that she didn't understand how to use the gears on the bicycle and had done the whole ride in high gear. Not one to be deterred, she took a lesson, and later that year rode the 25 mile ride. She upped the ante next year to do the 50, and in the 3rd year on rounded up her friends to participate with her on a team. She did every ride while undergoing chemotherapy. From the time she was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer until this past year which would be her last event, she raised over $51,000 for Fred Hutch!
We are all devastated by her loss but inspired by her devotion to raising funds to fight cancer even when she knew her time was running out. For her, we will don our Obliteride jerseys, hop on our bikes to ride, and most importantly raise money for research at Fred Hutch in hopes of a future in which others don't experience the pain of losing incredible people in their lives as we have.