Setting Up a Not For Profit After Cancer Diagnosis

I decided to leave my corporate life at age 58, four years after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and five years prior to my ideal retirement date. I had worked as an executive in the employer benefits industry for nearly 30 years and no longer enjoyed what I was doing. I also had zero patience to deal with “corporate politics”.

The uncertainty of my future altered my thought processes on my priorities including my career. I felt a strong desire to do something that helped those less fortunate.

I started working a flexible role as a licensing specialist for foster parents, and in early 2020, I decided to open a 501(c) (3) not for profit, “Kristi’s Klimbers”, to provide financial and other medical resource support for cancer patients. The organization should be up and running in early 2021 and I plan to fund by hosting hiking events around the Southwest when the pandemic lifts, and through corporate sponsors. Thanks to an organization called “Non Profit Elite”, I was able to set the not for profit up for under $1000 and tech savvy friends and family members are helping me set up my website.

I love my life now, and feel very fulfilled spending my days focused on helping those in need. After helping insurance companies make money for the past 30 years, I feel I am finally doing something with “purpose”, and no longer dread going to work each day. I am also an active hiker and spend my free time “chasing waterfall hikes” in Arizona with friends and family members. I also plan to write about these waterfall hikes through this venue.

My current job allows me to set my own hours, and offers affordable health insurance, It also gives me the flexibility to focus on Kristi’s Klimbers a few hours a week.

I have been cancer free for almost five years and have learned to appreciate the life lessons having cancer has taught me including having a greater sense of support and compassion for others, and a greater appreciation for the simpler things in life.



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Kristi is an avid hiker in AZ , a six year cancer survivor, and founder of Kristis Klimbers Foundation, a 501c3 non profit. that supports the cancer community