Couple donates summer to Vail Valley nonprofit
Vail Valley, CO Colorado
VAIL VALLEY, Colorado –There’s no right or wrong way to donate to charity, but Pam and Barry Davis are committing themselves to a Vail Valley-based nonprofit in a way that the organization’s founder hopes will inspire others.
The Davises are raising money this summer for First Descents, an Avon-based nonprofit that helps young adults living with cancer. The organization hosts week-long kayak camps that help cancer survivors overcome their fears and bond with each other – a mission the Davises want to help fulfill.
“I had no idea how many of my friends walking around have been through (cancer),” Barry Davis said. “The whole point is creating awareness.”
The Davises are leading up something called Team First Descents. It began with four members and the couple said more than 30 people have called about it just this week. The idea is to create teams for just about any sport under the sun and raise money through that team with different fundraising tactics.
“Whatever you’re in to – you can turn any event into a fundraiser,” Barry Davis said.
Brad Ludden, the founder of First Descents and a professional kayaker, said it’s people like the Davises who keep the organization going. It costs about $1,000 to send someone to camp – an experience that is life-changing, Ludden said.
“The only reason the (First Descents) idea ever materialized into anything was because there were certain people who believed in it and continue to believe in it,” Ludden said.
The Team First Descents idea is materializing specifically because of the Davises, Ludden said. Ludden said the First Descents staff wasn’t sure the team idea would work, but the Davises are proving that it’s going to be a huge success.
“By them stepping up and doing such a tremendous job, they’ve single-handedly taken this program off the ground,” he said.
Barry and Pam are sporting First Descents jerseys during cycling events all summer, and they’re also asking for donations online and at an event tonight at E-Town in Edwards. The couple worked hard on getting sponsors to donate items for a raffle and silent auction, and they’re selling T-shirts they had a friend design for the cause.
Barry said there really aren’t any rules to how you can raise the money; the point is just to raise the money.
“What we really love about First Descents is that the effect it has on someone’s life is really measurable,” Barry Davis said. “The whole point is creating awareness (about young adults with cancer) – we had no idea how unaware we were.”
Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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