Spreading the word about heartburn and cancer

Daily Press

Sandi Moseley said she plans to rappel 24 stories of the towering Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City Hotel in Los Angeles in order to get some much-needed attention for a serious matter.

After losing her husband, Tom, two years ago, Moseley said she’ll use the “Stories to Save Lives” rappelling event to bring public awareness that “heartburn can cause cancer.”

Moseley said her husband, a retired Upland firefighter, died at 63 after his acid reflux went untreated for a year. By the time the symptoms became severe, Tom had lost his four-and a-half month battle with esophageal cancer.

“I’ve never done anything like this, but it’s something that I need to,” said Moseley, who was married to Tom for 36 years. “After I got involved with the Esophageal Cancer Action Network, I decided that I needed to help get the word out about this type of cancer.”

Moseley, who lives in Phelan, said she will join some 80 people in the two-day rappelling event at the hotel, located near Universal Studios Hollywood. Participants will attend a VIP rappel reception, get a good night’s sleep and begin their downward journey the next day.

The ECAN said each rappeller will participate in honor of loved ones who are battling or have battled the disease, which is three to four times more common in men than women and has increased by 600 percent over the last 35 years.

Moseley said she’ll receive about a half-hour of rappelling training from the Over the Edge team at the hotel conference room before the event.

She’s also hoping that Scott Dugan, boyfriend of her daughter Lori, will be at her side during the descent.

“When I first looked up at that huge building it scared me to death, so I hope looking down will be easier than looking up,” said Moseley, who will wear a GoPro camera to capture the moment. “It’s one of those things where you make a commitment and now you have to do it. There’s no turning back now.”

Moseley said her support crew on the ground includes her adult children, Kurt and Lori Moseley, and Tarah Karr, who will join her at the post-rappelling party hosted by ECAN.

According to the organizer of the event, after the rappellers finish their adventure, they will make their way to the Landing Zone party area where family and friends will celebrate the event in a carnival atmosphere.

Moseley, who is the chair of the in-kind committee for the event and has lived in the High Desert since 1977, said her “second family,” co-workers at Sheep Creek Water Company, have been a huge support throughout Tom’s sickness and continue to be at her side today.

Moseley said the Phelan and Wrightwood branches of Desert Community Bank recently conducted a fundraiser to help her reach her goal of $3,000 for the ECAN during April’s Esophageal Cancer Awareness month.

According to the Mayo Clinic, over time, the persistent reflux bath into the esophagus can cause normal cells to change into tougher, more acid-resistant cells of the type found in the stomach and intestine, a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus. Once Barrett’s Esophagus is diagnosed, patients have a 30- to 125-fold increased risk of developing esophageal cancer.

“The most important thing for me is to get the word out on esophageal cancer awareness,” Moseley said. “As for rappelling down a skyscraper — ask me how I feel after my feet land safely on the ground.”

The ECAN event is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on May 2 at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City, 555 Universal Hollywood Drive in Universal City. For more information or to make a donation, visit www.ecan.org or www.storiestosavelives.com.

 

By Rene Ray De La Cruz vvdailypress.com