EAGLE COUNTY — John Wayne is still wearing his good guy hat.
The John Wayne Cancer Foundation donated $25,000 to Roundup River Ranch, an organization that provides camp experiences to children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses. The money will sponsor the annual family program session for children with cancer and their immediate family members.
Approximately 75 people will be at the camp Friday through Sunday.
The John Wayne Cancer Foundation has donated $350,000 to Roundup River Ranch since it opened in 2011. This is the first time it has donated directly to Roundup River Ranch’s family program.
Actor John Wayne was 72 years old when he died of cancer on June 11, 1979.
“I saw firsthand how much cancer affects the entire family through my dad’s diagnosis and battle with cancer,” said Ethan Wayne, son of John Wayne and director of John Wayne Cancer Foundation. “We are honored that we can support a weekend of respite for these families who’ve gone through so much. We hope that all family members who attend the session discover new courage, strength and grit to fight cancer.”
It’s important for families to understand that while battling cancer is tough, they’re not alone.
“Coming to Roundup River Ranch was a special experience for our family as it was one of the few times my daughter wasn’t treated like a cancer patient,” said Jeff Spille, who attended last year’s family program session for children with cancer.
“With all Jenna’s treatments, it was a challenge for us to have quality family time,” Spille said. “That changed at camp, and we felt like we were at home with others who understood what we were going through.”
Roundup River Ranch’s family program provides children with cancer and their families an opportunity to form connections with others who’ve shared similar medical experiences. Every activity at camp is fully adaptable, and specialists provide the care that campers need, said Ruth B. Johnson, Roundup River Ranch president and CEO.
“The John Wayne Cancer Foundation’s gift provides a unique opportunity for children with cancer and their families to enjoy an experience that will impact their lives long after the session ends,” Johnson said.
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and firstname.lastname@example.org.