B on the Lookout benefit set for Sunday | VailDaily.com

B on the Lookout benefit set for Sunday

BEAVER CREEK, Colorado – Somewhere in heaven, Brandon Merritt is smiling because people are having a great time.

The B on the Lookout benefit is scheduled for Sunday in Beaver Creek, a raffle and benefit for the Children’s Tumor Foundation and the Brandon Merritt Charitable Foundation.

It’s a pretty relaxed event and the world’s easiest scavenger hunt, said family friend Tatiana Dunbar-Hall.

You can sign up all day and take as little or as much time as you want, so you and your friends can laugh and giggle while you’re doing it.

You follow a few clues to various locations around Beaver Creek, and at the end of the day you bring your credential and swap it for raffle tickets.

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So far, they have $17,000 worth of prizes.

“The community has been incredible,” said Jessica Merritt, Brandon’s sister. “Everyone we’ve asked has happily donated. The list is huge.”

You don’t have to be present to win; they’ll call you. But if you don’t call back in two days they give your prize to someone else.

The disease that got Brandon

Brandon Merritt died in his sleep Feb. 2, 2011, a victim of neurofibromatosis.

“My family created this fundraiser so other families don’t have to go through what we’ve been through in the past year,” Jessica said.

Neurofibromatosis affects one in 3,000 births in America annually, more than cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease and muscular dystrophy combined.

“We want to raise awareness,” Jessica said.

The Children’s Tumor Foundation is dedicated to helping individuals and families affected by neurofibromatosis. It causes tumors to grow on nerves throughout the body. It’s usually diagnosed in childhood, and is a lifelong debilitating disorder, affecting both sexes and all races and ethnic groups equally.

“Brandon never once complained and he had a lust for life that rubbed off on everyone he came into contact with,” Dunbar-Hall said. “He loved the mountains that surround us and never missed an opportunity to enjoy everything that this beautiful valley has to offer.”

Merritt moved with his family to Edwards in 2007, although they’ve been skiing Beaver Creek since it was a tennis bubble at the bottom of the lift. He was a huge sports fan and could rattle off statistics about almost any team, but most especially about his beloved University of Miami Hurricanes and Boston Red Sox. His Red Sox baseball cap almost never left his head.

He worked winters at Beaver Creek Resort in guest services, and summers at both Sonnenalp golf course and the Cordillera Valley Club.

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

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