Avid skier is returning to the hill for Pink Vail on Saturday
VAIL — “Remember that guy who gave up? No one else does either.”
These are the words on Bill Schane’s Pink Vail fundraising page. He posts similar daily motivators on his website, “Don’t Go It Alone.” Schane is a man of guiding principles. And they’re getting him through some pretty rough patches, including a fight for his life.
This past April, Schane was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioama, a rare type of cancer that occurs in the thin cell walls surrounding the abdominal cavity, known as the peritoneum. An executive at the Boeing Co., Schane has learned the power of personal conviction, accompanied by the help of others.
“Oftentimes, when we try to do things ‘my way’ or in an isolated manner, the results are sub-optimal,” he said. “That got me on the path of how truly successful activities are collaborative and that we all need one another at many levels to accomplish what we aim to achieve.”
On Saturday, when 2,500 expected Pink Vail participants take to Vail Mountain in a united and spirited fight against cancer, Schane will be reminded that he does not go it alone.
Pink Vail is the world’s biggest ski day to conquer cancer. In its first three years, it has raised $1 million for patient care and survivorship programs at Shaw Regional Cancer Center. This year’s $500,000 goal will ensure that patients undergoing treatment at Shaw receive complimentary services under the Spirit of Survival program, which includes fitness and emotional support, massage and acupuncture, nutrition consultation and unique experiences like hut trips, group snowshoes, cooking demonstrations, art and pottery classes, and educational lectures. These services are not typically covered by insurance but have been proven to dramatically impact quality of life and survivorship.
Schane was diagnosed in his hometown of St. Louis, and due to the rare nature of his cancer, was guided to pursue his care in Chicago. After he underwent surgery and treatments, he was left extremely fatigued, and the physicians who had been treating him lacked the vision and tools to help him regain his strength — and his life. He was researching cancer one morning when he stumbled upon a video about the Spirit of Survival program on Shaw Regional Cancer Center’s website. He brought his laptop to his wife, and in tears, he told her Shaw is where he had to be.
“The Spirit of Survival program spoke to me in the way that it addressed the fatigue I was experiencing and the need to learn how to live with cancer,” he said. “You have to learn how to be a survivor. Shaw has shown me how to do that.”
Schane has taken advantage of the Spirit of Survival’s fitness classes, nutrition counseling and acupuncture. He has rebuilt himself and today, he is doing what he loves — alpine ski racing.
Schane will be wearing a custom-made, pink speed suit for Pink Vail. He and Team Don’t Go it Alone have already received nearly 100 donations from family and friends. They’ve raised more than $18,000, with a goal of raising $20,000.
“Before I underwent surgery, I asked my doctors if I would ski again,” Schane said. “I knew if they said ‘yes,’ I could get through the surgery and everything after that. To see how far I’ve come, to be able to ski on Pink Vail with my family and friends — it’s incredible. I am so grateful to everyone who has helped me along the way.”
“We are so pleased to be a positive part of Bill’s journey through cancer,” said Vail Valley Medical Center President and CEO Doris Kirchner. “Pink Vail is a celebration and commemoration of everyone’s journey.”
Presented by Helly Hansen, Pink Vail is hosted at the top of Vail Mountain at Eagle’s Nest and includes all-day live music, deck parties, a costume contest and the Celebration Ski Down. All ages and abilities are welcome, and you don’t have to ski to participate. Similar to a run or walk to support cancer, participants register at http://www.pinkvail.com and invite friends, family and co-workers to join their team or make a donation on their behalf. One hundred percent of the proceeds from Pink Vail stay in the community.
Pink Vail wouldn’t be as successful without the support of national and community partners like Helly Hansen, Vail Mountain, Epic Promise, town of Vail, Vail Valley Surgery Center, Maui Jim, Diversified Radiology, Smartwool, Coors Light, FirstBank, Slifer Smith & Frampton, Head skis, Larkburger, Bula, Chateau d’Esclans, Wyndham Vacation Rentals, The Arrabelle at Vail Square, Four Seasons Resort, Takeda Oncology, Mountain Beverage, New Belgium Brewery, Genentech, 104.7 The Mile, Korbel, Chambord, Crazy Mountain Brewery, Dusty Boot, GE Johnson, Luminate Advertising, Astrazeneca, US Bank, Centennial Bank and the Vail Daily.