Vail Health Magazine 2013 - page 25

It’s a day for gorillas
and spandex, feather boas and
glitter, giant pigs and anything —
everything — pink. Pink Vail, that
is. Pink Vail takes Vail Mountain
by storm (and costume) once a
year to celebrate the strength and
courage of anyone who has fought
cancer, anyhow, anywhere. The
funds raised from the event direct-
ly benefit Shaw Regional Cancer
Center’s patients and their families
by supporting the Spirit of Survival
program. (See page 30 for more on
the program.)
“A cancer diagnosis changes
your life. We know that patients
and families need excellent clinical
care and an individualized pro-
gram of support during and after
treatment. The Spirit of Survival
program is unique to Shaw. We
have built a program to help
patients build strength physically,
mentally and emotionally.” says
Peggy Carey, Vice President of
Shaw Regional Cancer Center.
“Pink Vail has created a way for the
community to help us build the
programs and services we know
make a difference for patients and
families. We can all be proud of
our community.”
To the average onlooker, Pink
Vail might seem like a one-day
event. The pink twinkly lights
appear, various “checkpoints”
around Vail Mountain are set up
and people arrive in costume,
oftentimes sporting the name of
whomever they wish to celebrate.
But a lot of time and effort goes
in before that day in March. For
months, people create teams and
raise funds online by asking their
friends and families to donate.
They plan their costumes, razz
other teams by trying to “out-fund-
raise” them, and generally enter
into the spirit of the event with
gusto. From 1,600 donors and 700
participants in its inaugural year
to 4,000 donors, 1,300 participants
and $350,000 raised one year later,
the event has almost doubled in
size and scope. And so has its
mission. Originally a fundraiser
for breast cancer specifically,
Pink Vail is more representative
of Shaw Regional Cancer Center’s
mission — to offer personalized
and sophisticated treatment for
anyone fighting almost any kind
of cancer, such as breast, prostate,
lung and colon cancers, in the Vail
area and beyond.
“The ski day, the pink, the fun —
I think the whole concept is great,”
says Elise Micati, the leader of the
Vail Gondola Club, Cordillera’s ski
club, which raised the most funds
in 2013. “I was a patient at Shaw,
where I received chemotherapy
and radiation therapy. I’ve always
wanted to do something to say
thank you. The treatment I got
there was just phenomenal.”
Micati didn’t just receive medical
treatment, but she availed herself
of Shaw’s many offerings, what she
calls critical patient care. “They do
so much in terms of social work
and support. They give you a safe
place to exercise, a fabulous library
to help with research, and their
nutritionist, Melaine, is amazing.
I read recently that 90 percent of
cancer patients need a specialized
exercise program, but only 30
percent get it, because the doctors
don’t really understand that. But
not at Shaw — Shaw gets it.”
Micati helped dress her team-
mates by providing pompoms,
stickers, ribbons and other pink
paraphernalia. Her group of 30
raised more than $33,000, and it
consisted of both men and women.
“We’ve heard so many stories
from people — ‘Last year my mom
fought tooth and nail,’ or ‘I was
too sick to do this last year but
here I am,’” says Lindsay Warner,
Communications & Publications
Manager for VVMC. “Cancer is
something every single family
has been affected by, and it’s
something that everyone can join
together to fight.”
VVMC’s online marketing spe-
cialist, Emily Tamberino, echoes
the sentiment.
“For the survivors, it’s a day of
triumph to be there and be skiing,”
she says. “To think that a year ago,
five years ago, they might have
been in the worst possible state,
and they’re just cheering each oth-
er on. It’s why we can’t stop doing
it — we need a way to celebrate
that strength.”
Pink Vail is more than just a fundraiser; it celebrates
anyone and everyone who has fought cancer
That’s the Spirit
By wren wertin
Your tongue naturally
replaces all of your taste
buds every 21 days. That
means if you’re trying
to change your diet and
switch to soy milk from
cow’s milk, for example,
then after 21 days the
taste will seem right
instead of foreign.
Team Tutus for TaTas
enjoyed the pink powder day
in 2013.
Ski Down participants ski into
Lionshead ski yard after skiing
in celebration of a loved one or
their own cancer survivorship.
The skiers were welcomed
into the Pink Vail après party
with cow bells, cheering, a
celebration toast and live music.
Photos by Zach Mahone
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