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Duct Tape Heals One Woman's Cancer

Emily Tamberino

VAIL CO– Duct tape does not cure cancer. But in the case of Anne Trumpower it has healed hers.

Trumpower is known as the “duct tape lady” to those who have attended Pink Vail™ the world's biggest ski day to conquer cancer. Since the event's inaugural year in 2012 Trumpower has donned a one-piece ski suit which she has duct taped from top to bottom—in pink of course. On her back she has taped a number to mark the years she's been cancer free. On March 21st when an expected 2500 participants take to Vail Mountain in everything from pink spandex to boas and bras Trumpower will be wrapped in duct tape with the number 12 on her back.

“It's cathartic” she explains. “When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I was shocked. But I knew I had to fight it and with the help of Shaw Regional Cancer Center I beat it! Skiing Pink Vail with that number on my back reminds me my family and everyone else that we can beat cancer.”

Trumpower's passion for skiing and the outdoors led her to Vail in 1979. Since 2002 she and her husband split their time between Vail and Maryland but when she was diagnosed with cancer she decided she would pursue treatment at Shaw. She explains “The first time I walked in the door at Shaw Regional Cancer Center I felt like I was going to be a survivor. The loving care there is incredible. It's warm it's friendly and I knew they would take good care of me.”

Because of her active lifestyle and passion for the outdoors Trumpower received chemotherapy and radiation treatments in the afternoons so she could ski during the day. She took advantage of free fitness classes offered through the Spirit of Survival program which is funded by Pink Vail. “They helped me get stronger and feel stronger” says Trumpower.

Trumpower isn't the only patient to take advantage of Shaw's growing Spirit of Survival program. In 2014 Pink Vail provided 1352 free fitness sessions 848 emotional support sessions 492 massage or acupuncture sessions 423 nutrition consultations and funding for hundreds of participants to enjoy group snowshoes cooking demonstrations art and pottery classes hikes and educational lectures—all at no cost to Shaw's patients. These services can dramatically impact quality of life but are not typically covered by insurance.

“The Spirit of Survival program is designed to complement the high-quality compassionate care our highly trained physicians and staff provide” explains Vail Valley Medical Center's President and CEO Doris Kirchner. “Tailored to each patient's needs and goals the program has helped so many people survive—and thrive.”

Programs like Spirit of Survival –not to mention the relaxing setting of Shaw Regional Cancer Center and its breathtaking views of the Sawatch Mountain Range—set Shaw apart from cancer centers around the country.

“The care at Shaw is just as good as any big city cancer center but it's comfy and warm” explains Trumpower. “You know you're going to be taken care of. At Shaw you're not a number you're a person.”

She continues “I participate in Pink Vail because Shaw means so much to me and I feel like every little bit we can give to Shaw will help everyone in the community. It's also the best party on the mountain!”

Presented by Helly Hansen Pink Vail is hosted at the top of Vail Mountain at Eagle's Nest and includes all day live music deck parties a costume contest and the Celebration Ski Down. All ages and abilities are welcome and you don't have to ski to participate. Similar to a run or walk to support cancer participants register at and invite friends family and co-workers to join their team or make a donation on their behalf. 100% of the proceeds from Pink Vail stay in the community.

“Pink Vail provides an opportunity for everyone to commemorate our united fight against cancer” says Kirchner. “It's a way for people to honor their loved ones while raising funds to help those fighting a battle.”

“For me wearing that number on my back is so important because I know it marks another year as a cancer survivor” says Trumpower. “For everybody that's there they see my number change and they're happy for my celebration too.”

Pink Vail has raised over $1 million in its first three years and the fundraising goal in 2015 is $500000. Participants have ranged in age from 2 to 84 years old and come from all over the U.S. with donations pouring in from all 50 states and nearly a dozen countries. Pink Vail funds the "Spirit of Survival" program which offers all cancer patients and survivors at Shaw Regional Cancer Center the opportunity to receive free exercise training nutrition coaching emotional support outdoor adventures a nurse navigator massages alternative treatments and more.

Pink Vail wouldn't be as successful without the support of national and community partners like Helly Hansen Vail Mountain Epic Promise Town of Vail Vail Valley Surgery Center Maui Jim Diversified Radiology Smartwool Coors Light FirstBank Slifer Smith & Frampton Head skis Larkburger Bula Chateau d'Esclans Wyndham Vacation Rentals The Arrabelle at Vail Square Four Seasons Resort Takeda Oncology Mountain Beverage New Belgium Brewery Genentech 104.7 The Mile Korbel Chambord Crazy Mountain Brewery Dusty Boot GE Johnson Luminate Advertising Astrazeneca US Bank Centennial Bank and Vail Daily.

Shaw Regional Cancer Center at Vail Valley Medical Center is for anyone seeking comprehensive cancer care in a peaceful and intimate setting. Patients travel to Shaw for their Ivy League doctors top-of-the-line equipment—including the best technology available for radiation therapy and 3D mammography—and impeccable reputation for breast and prostate cancer treatment. The multidisciplinary approach of their cancer care team benefits each patient's individualized treatment plan supporting the patient and family through treatment all the way to survivorship. One of the country's premiere boutique cancer treatment facilities Shaw Regional Cancer Center has been recognized and accredited by some of the top cancer organizations in the country including the American Society of Clinical Oncology Cancer Foundation® Susan G. Komen for the Cure® American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer (CoC) and the American College of Radiology (ACR).