$50K raised for local teen in Vail Valley | VailDaily.com

$50K raised for local teen in Vail Valley

Lauren Glendenning
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Vail DailyAndrew Claymon, center, with friends Christian, Alan Lewis, Aaron Lewis, and Steve Parra at his fundraiser in Vail, Colorado's Donovan Pavilion May 7.

VAIL VALLEY, Colorado “-More than 600 people showed up at a fundraising event in Colorado’s Vail Valley last Thursday to support a local family whose lives have been turned upside down.

Andrew Claymon, a 15-year-old freshman at Battle Mountain High School, found out he has a rare form of cancer on New Year’s Eve. Andrew has been in and out of hospitals and began an extensive chemotherapy treatment program in March.

His parents, Mike and Joni Claymon, have been going back and forth to the Children’s Hospital in Denver, while also continuing to work and take care of their younger son, Brian, 14.

Financially, the family has taken a hit.

The Vail Valley Charitable Fund and a committee made up of some of the Claymons’ friends came together to try to help the family out. With medical expenses piling high and both parents taking time away from work to care for their son, friends noticed and wanted to do something, said Alan Lewis, a friend of the family.

The group put on the May 7 at the Donovan Pavilion in West Vail featuring a silent auction, food and live entertainment. They weren’t really sure of what to expect, but the turnout definitely blew away any expectations they had, Lewis said.

“If (the money raised) could just relieve a little bit of stress and be one less worry for them, then we’ve accomplished what we set out to do” Lewis said.

Rohn Robbins, the Vail Valley Charitable Fund’s board chairman, said the event raised more than $50,000. Some people didn’t even bid on the auction items, instead they handed over checks, he said.

Robbins saw one check for $2,500 and said there may have been others that were higher than that.

The Vail Valley Charitable Fund, an Avon-based nonprofit that helps people in a medical crisis, has about triple the demand it did a year ago, Robbins said. The organization’s fundraising money is up by about 2 percent.

Mike Claymon said he’s completely overwhelmed by the turnout and the support for his family. He’s thankful to the whole community, he said.

“It was a community effort and a community show of support, which means an incredible amount to us,” he said. “(The money) is going to help with some of the medical expenses and also help fill in the gap when we can’t work.”

Lewis said he’s blown away by all the support for the Claymons ” it’s support that will go a long way for a family going through so much.

“People in the community, from Gypsum to East Vail, contributed ” it was just unbelievable,” he said. “I’m just so proud of the community. It makes me just so proud to live here.”

Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or lglendenning@vaildaily.com

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