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Fight Cancer the Fun Way with Pink Vail

Shauna Farnell | Vail Valley Medical Center

Running a race or cycling across the country can be a tough personal undertaking but worth it if there is a good cause. How about making a difference just by skiing or snowboarding for a day? No need to twist your arm right?

Nowhere in the world is there a bigger ski day to fight cancer than Pink Vail on April 5. The feel-good party that comes with it is just an added bonus.

Launched in 2012 to support programs to treat breast cancer Pink Vail now focuses fundraising on all cancer survivors and everyone affected by the disease.

Much in the same way people seek fundraising sponsors for shaving their head growing a mustache walking running or cycling Pink Vail participants encourage friends and family to sponsor their day on Vail Mountain to raise money for cancer survivorship programs. At Pink Vail you can ski or ride however you like — for just one run or from open to close if you feel so inclined. You can also just hang out on the deck all day with your friends rocking a pink tutu ... or full-body hot pink spandex. It happened last year.

Spirit of Survival
Two years ago 683 cancer survivors friends husbands wives sons daughters and grandchildren of survivors and those impacted by cancer turned out on Vail Mountain to ski and ride. Many were clad in zany rose-colored costumes adorned with signs reading “I'm skiing for my mom and dad” “Riding for grandma” “This is for you Susie R.I.P” etc. Last year the number of participants — not to mention the heartfelt enthusiasm — nearly doubled and so did the funds raised. More than $350000 was donated to Shaw Regional Cancer Center in Edwards a facility originally built by generous donations from the Shaw family and which for the last 12 years has become one of the most highly touted boutique cancer treatment centers in the U.S.. One of Shaw's programs supported by Pink Vail is the Spirit of Survival providing every Shaw patient with free exercise classes nutrition coaching outdoor adventures wellness services and individualized emotional support geared to inspiring them to transcend the disease.

“The Spirit of Survival is a program unique to Shaw that makes a significant and lasting impact on each patient as they face the challenges of the diagnosis and treatment. Being told you have cancer changes your life we have built a program to help patients become physically and mentally strong sometimes more so than before their diagnosis” said Peggy Carey vice president of Shaw Regional Cancer Center. “Pink Vail has created a program we should all be proud of as a community.”

There is no age limit to register for Pink Vail. You can sign up as an individual or as a team but need to supply your own pass or lift ticket to ski. The cost to register is $25 which includes an official credential and lanyard as well as a gift card for a free burger at Larkburger and beer at Crazy Mountain Brewery. Everyone who raises $50 or more gets a Pink Vail beanie. Every participant is encouraged to contact friends and family to seek pledges with incredible awards and prizes given to those who receive the highest donations.

The Pink Vail scene
On April 5 Eagle's Nest at the top of Vail Mountain becomes a flamingo party beginning at 8:30 a.m. complete with pink carpet and photo booth. While some participants just like to hang out all day looking pretty in pink others take on the Checkpoint Challenge skiing or riding to sunny decks all over the mountain to get their credential punched and earn a better chance at prize giveaways. There's also a costume contest from 2 to 2:30 p.m. and live music from local bluegrass favorite Hardscrabble from 1 to 3 p.m. Following a Spirit Rally and Awards participants become one collective sea of pink during the Celebration Ski Down at 3:30 p.m.

“Pink Vail is a true celebration of our united effort to support patients facing cancer” Carey said. “We rarely get to ski for a cause and this day not only raises money but also celebrates the courage and strength it takes to fight cancer.”

To register or for more information visit Pink Vail benefits Shaw Regional Cancer Center a service on the nonprofit Vail Valley Medical Center.