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Celebration In Pink

Lindsay Warner Vail Valley Medical Center

On March 3 2011 Lisa Middlebrook got the devastating news thatshe had breast cancer. After a trying year of treatment andrecovery and exactly one year after her diagnosis Middlebrookskied at Pink Vail to help support the Shaw Cancer Center.

The past year was the toughest of her life - undergoing a doublemastectomy four rounds of chemotherapy 26 radiation treatmentslosing her hair and missing out on traveling to visit family. Butaccording to Middlebrook getting cancer gave her a new passion forlife. She was swarmed with support.

"I haven't talked on the phone that much since I was a teenager"she said. "My friends turned into my family driving me to myappointments arranging our meals helping with the kids."

Because of Shaw Regional Cancer Center Middlebrook was able tostay near her family while undergoing treatment. Middlebrook aBreckenridge resident for the past 10 years became a regular facearound Shaw.

Four days after her diagnosis Middlebrook and her husband Billmet with the entire team of cancer specialists at Shaw. Thesurgeon oncologist nutritionist genetic counselorreconstructive surgeon and others walked them through her specificcase and treatment options.

"They gave me the direction to help me realize I could do this"she said. "We walked away knowing Shaw was the only place we wantedto go."

Middlebrook isn't alone in her passion for Shaw Regional CancerCenter and its team of care providers. Forty-four percent ofcancers treated at Shaw are breast-cancer cases and many patientssing the same praising song. In fact they sing loud enough thatover the last six weeks 1906 people stepped up to support breastcancer programs at Shaw Regional Cancer Center through PinkVail.

Saturday's inaugural Pink Vail event which included a day ofskiing and snowboarding a checkpoint challenge celebrationski-down and concert by British indie-rockers Gomez was thecelebration after weeks of fundraising. As of Saturday Pink Vailgenerated $177777.86 which directly benefits patient care andprograms at Shaw Regional Cancer Center the area's only fullyaccredited cancer treatment and comprehensive breast center.

Shaw a service provided by the nonprofit Vail Valley MedicalCenter treats the entire person not just the cancer. The patienthas access to massages nutrition and exercise experts supportgroups hair consultations tai chi a medical library yogaclasses and even a cancer caring lodge Jack's Place whichprovides respite for patients needing overnight accommodations orrest between treatments.

"Pink Vail is an amazing event" said Doris Kirchner presidentand CEO of Vail Valley Medical Center. "Thousands of people havefound a way to support Shaw Regional Cancer Center over the lastmonth and now we are here to celebrate the tough women who havefought cancer and honor those who are no longer with us."

Pink Vail received tremendous support from the community both indonations and from businesses contributing to make the eventspecial. Local small businesses like Signature Signs Say No MorePromotions Batter Vail Gourmet Cookie Co. and dozens of othersdonated products and produced things at below cost. The skicommunity also supported the event providing ski gear andaccessories to reward the participants.

"Pink Vail symbolizes an entire community coming together tosupport patients at Shaw Regional Cancer Center" saidKirchner.

Middlebrook also saw her friends coming together for PinkVail.

"The people who supported me during my treatment are the samepeople who supported my Pink Vail team the Shaw Snowbabes"Middlebrook said. "They posted on Facebook and sent emails topeople helping me get funds for Pink Vail. They are more thanwilling to support me in a great event like Pink Vail because theyknow how much Shaw means to me."

The final tally of dollars raised for Pink Vail is yet to bedetermined as donations are still coming in through the mail andonline. If you'd like more information on Pink Vail or would liketo give visit