Roundup River Ranch’s Grateful Harvest raises more than $1.2 million | VailDaily.com

Roundup River Ranch’s Grateful Harvest raises more than $1.2 million

EAGLE COUNTY — The kind folks at Roundup River Ranch just hosted their annual A Grateful Harvest benefit, and are they ever grateful.

Their annual Grateful Harvest featured 350 good-hearted souls who raised more than $1.2 million. It was also a great party presented by WhiteWave Foods Company.

Roundup River Ranch, you'll recall, provides summer camp experiences for children with serious illnesses and their families at no cost to participants.

"Each year, when friends of Roundup River Ranch come together for A Grateful Harvest, I know we'll experience the extraordinary," said Ruth Johnson, president and CEO of Roundup River Ranch.

And they did.

No charge

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The money makes it possible for children with serious illnesses to take a break from "being a patient," and be a camper without paying a cent, Johnson said.

"What the community accomplished in one night for camp is quite remarkable," Johnson said.

Along with being a benefit, it was also a wine pairing dinner. Master Sommelier Sean Razee paired wines creations from Kevin Irving at Flame Restaurant at The Four Seasons, Paul Ferzacca at La Tour, Nick Haley at Zino Ristorante, Kelly Liken and Vishwatej Nath at The 10th, Vail Resorts.

The highlight of the evening included performances by Roundup River Ranch campers.

Accompanied by Beth Swearingen and Don Watson, 20 Roundup River Ranch campers shared with guests how the camp has changed their lives; children expressed that they found love, acceptance, friendship and hope at camp — something most said they had never found anywhere else.

"Roundup River Ranch is a different reality from my home because I can forget about all of my problems at camp," said camper Kyle Hill.

Hill suffers from a neurological disorder and attended Roundup River Ranch for the first time this summer. He already started his countdown to returning next summer.

A camper's-eye-view

Kelly Kniss is Sierra's mom. Kelly talked about oasis the camp has been in her family's life. Sierra has multiple life-threatening conditions and suffers from illnesses that attack most of her major body systems. At camp, Sierra did things she never had before, made new friends and enjoyed independence, Kelly said.

Sierra's new goal is to make the Paralympic Team in swimming.

More than 1,000 people will be touched this summer by Roundup River Ranch. That number will increase in coming years, Johnson said.

Board members Kathy Cole and Mary Davies co-hosted the event. Beth and Rod Slifer and Joan and Howard Katz hosted it.

"We are humbled and inspired by the overwhelming generosity expressed by the community," Davies said. "We are grateful that so many believe in the healing power of camp and know that our efforts truly make a difference in the lives of the children and families served."

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

To volunteer

Roundup River Ranch will host Family Camp sessions through Nov. 1. Volunteers are needed. To learn more go to http://www.RoundupRiverRanch.org.

About Roundup River Ranch

Roundup River Ranch is a member of SeriousFun Children’s Network, founded by Paul Newman. The camps provide support to children with serious illnesses and their families.

Roundup River Ranch hosts hundreds of children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses, always free of charge to the child and their family.

Roundup River Ranch is located two and a half hours from Denver near Gypsum, along the Colorado River.

For information, go to http://www.RoundupRiverRanch.org, or call 970-748-9983.

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