Shaw Cancer Center’s male patients prepare for Pink Vail | VailDaily.com

Shaw Cancer Center’s male patients prepare for Pink Vail

Pink Vail won't just honor breast cancer, but all patients

 

Skimotherapy, open to all Shaw patients, is an opportunity for patients to get on the slopes despite their obstacles.

Pink Vail, an annual event to raise money for Shaw Cancer Center, is returning on March 16 to bring fun on and off the slopes. Pink Vail's proceeds will go toward Shaw's Spirit of Survival Program, which offers outings, classes and more to all Shaw patients completely free of charge. While the color pink is often associated with breast cancer, Pink Vail will actually benefit all of Shaw's patients — including the men.

"The Shaw Cancer Center does more than just treat your cancer, you can get surgery radiation in dozens of places, but they work hard to treat your lifestyle and make sure you thrive in spite of having cancer," said Clyde Hanks, a patient at Shaw. "Research shows that their survival stats are higher because of that."

Hanks, who participates regularly in the fitness programs within Shaw's Spirit of Survival Program, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2005. After radiation and hormone therapy as well as a brand new medication, Hanks overcame his obstacles. He and his friends in his fitness classes now refer to themselves as "the no prostate club."

Fitness classes aren't the only piece of the Spirit of Survival Program that Hanks has participated in. He's also gone on hut trips, hikes, luncheons and even a creative writing course. Additionally, Hanks participated in "broga," a yoga class put on for the men of Shaw.

The Spirit of Survival Program provides free events and classes to all Shaw patients, including creative outlets like painting and creative writing.

Hanks also has a strong appreciation for Shaw and the Spirit of Survival Program beyond just the free events.

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"The camaraderie is great," Hanks said. "You're with other men that have been through at least some of the same things you've been through like surgeries and radiation. It reminds you that you're not the only person out there going through this."

Steve Carcaterra, another patient at Shaw feels similarly about the programs.

Carcaterra's first brush with cancer came when his daughter was diagnosed at 19 years old. He met with a social worker, Erin Perejda, and worked his way through his daughter's treatments and recovery. Two years later, Carcaterra himself was diagnosed with stage four melanoma—which had spread all throughout his body, leaving two tumors in his brain.

Carcaterra called up Perejda, who was now working for Shaw, and chose to visit the center, and ultimately receive treatment there. Since then, Carcaterra has made a nearly full recovery. He's also taken advantage of the Spirit of Survival Program's Skimotherapy—a free day on the slopes designed to help cancer patients get in some exercise and take in nature open to all patients.

The Fit for Survival Program helps patients to add exercise to their lives in order to improve their recovery.

"Skimotherapy was awesome because you're there with other survivors," said Carcaterra. "It's a fraternity that no one wants to be in, but you do gain a lot of support by being with people going thru the same thing."

Another Shaw patients, Daniel Elsbury, had such a strong appreciation for the work being done at Shaw that he eventually chose to join the team.

Elsbury battled cancer for about two years while at Shaw, taking note of the report between himself and the staff. These days, Elsbury is cancer-free and works as a Patient Resource Navigator with Shaw.

"The main role (of the job) is to provide myself as a resource to patients, families and caregivers, but also to help out the entire staff," said Elsbury. "It's about half patient interaction … just checking in with them. I direct them to the right person and places to go, I make sure they're on track for appointments and not feeling lost."

Elsbury refers to Shaw as "a second home," and like Hanks and Carcaterra, is more-than-grateful for the Spirit of Survival Program.

Spirit of Survival features several yoga classes including goat yoga and “broga” for the men.

"Spirit of Survival essentially saved my life," Elsbury said. "From having a social worker for emotional support to a dietician and exercise physiologist to help me really change my lifestyle."

This year's Pink Vail will include a costume contest, a ski down, a checkpoint challenge, live music and more at Golden Peak. Donations can be made and registration can be completed at http://www.pinkvail.com.

 

Arts & Entertainment Editor Nate Day can be reached at nday@vaildaily.com or 970-748-2932.