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Climb every mountain

Matt Zalaznick
Jon Efraimson, who died of cancer in February, at the top of Vail Pass. A fund has been set up in his name to raise money for local cancer victims.
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The summits of Vail Pass and Vail Mountain are, friends say, the perfect surroundings to remember longtime local Jon Efraimson, who died earlier this year.

Those are the two towering locations for Saturday’s Climb Every Mountain Benefit, which raises money for a fund spearheaded by Efraimson’s wife, Lisa, to help local cancer victims.

“The loss of my husband, Eef, has been tough,” Lisa Efraimson says to the fund’s supporters. “However, you have all given me strength and courage to continue to live the life I know Jon would want me to continue to live, and give back to those who have been faced with similar conditions.”

Efraimson, also known as “Eef,” arrived in Vail in 1988. He was the founder of EEF Productions with friend Hayden Scott. Less than a month after he and Lisa were married in June, 2002, Efraimson, a non-smoker, was diagnosed at age 36 with a form of lung cancer. He died in February.

Along with Lisa Efraimson, the cancer fund was set up by Bill Sutphen, Margie Plath, the Vail Valley Medical Center Foundation and Shaw Cancer Center.

It was one of Jon’s dreams to set up a fund for cancer patients and give proceeds directly to cancer patients in the Vail Valley, says friend Meggan Bernstein.

Lisa thanked friends for supporting her and the fund.

“I feel so blessed to live in a community where so many people pull together to help others in good times and challenges,” she says. “As I think of the special people who contribute so much good to my life, I realize why God provided me with a community of friends that have given me so much love, have been more generous and an inspiration to me during this difficult time I have been faced with.”

Summit scenery

Saturday’s commemoration begins with a “ride” up Vail Pass. Participants can ride bicycles but also can walk, jog or rollerblade. A champagne toast will take place once everyone has reached the summit.

During the afternoon, there will be a post party at Talon’s Deck at Eagle’s Nest at the top of Vail Mountain. The party includes live music with Bob Finney, Roy Bloomfield and Justin Allison, a full barbecue, beer donated by Coors, soda and a cash bar. There also will be a raffle for prizes, including a four-night stay at any Rock Resorts property plus air fare for two people; a four-night stay at the Teton Mountain Lodge in Wyoming; a 2003-04 adult Colorado Pass; a three-night stay at the Vail Marriott Mountain Resort and Spa; dinners at the Cucina Rustica/Wildflower, Larkspur, Beano’s and others; a Vail Valley Foundation World Cup event package; skis and other prizes.

Lisa said she looks forward to another great fund-raiser in support of the cancer fund.

“By being involved with the Eef cancer support group, I hope to fulfill dreams and give inspiration to those who are in need during difficult times,” she says.

Words of wisdom

Efraimson’s first job in Vail was a lift operator with the resort company. He started working at RIC Vacation Video in 1995 and founded EEF Productions a few years later.

He was diagnosed with aden carcinoma, a form of lung cancer, last year, and given almost no chance of survival by his doctors. Jon responded by researching his disease intensively, eventually taking part in an experimental study of a new cancer drug.

Efraimson updated his friends and family with regular e-mails and always included inspiring words and lessons such as:

“Don’t wait to give your kid an extra hug, tell your spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend that you love them, make someone’s day, and don’t be afraid to laugh or cry.

“I’m grateful for the life that I’ve lived so far and so lucky to have so many kind and caring people in my lifeS..

“All of my life I’ve enjoyed challenges and really enjoyed climbing up hills and mountainsS.

“I’m running the mile of life and can hear you all cheering … Together we’re going to beat this.”

Unfortunately, Efraimson’s aggressive cancer spread quickly to his liver and eventually took his life on Feb. 18, 2003.

AT A GLANCE

The Second Annual Jon Efraimson Climb Every Mountain Benefit

What: Fund raiser for Jon Efraimson Cancer Fund

When: Saturday

Cost: $40 for whole day; $20 for Vail Pass ride; $25 for Eagle’s Nest party

– Vail Pass ride

What: Group bike, walk and rollerblade up Vail Pass

When: 10 a.m.

– Eagle’s Nest post party

When: 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

– To register and for more information, stop by Wheel Base in Lionshead by Thursday. Participants can also register the day of the event for an additional $5 from 8:30- 9:30 a.m. at the base of Vail Pass just before the gate and from 1:30- 2:30 p.m. at the base of the Eagle Bahn Gondola.

– For additional information or to make a donation, contact the Vail Valley Medical Center at 970-569-7492.


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