CureFest march in Vail a huge success thanks to determination of local 19-year-old Campbell Sullivan |

CureFest march in Vail a huge success thanks to determination of local 19-year-old Campbell Sullivan

By Laura Bell
Special to the Daily
Campbell Sullivan, second from the right, usually goes to Washington, D.C., to participate in the annual CureFest march. With the global pandemic and her own health in mind, she decided to march locally instead of traveling.
Nick Junker | Special to the Daily

Decked in gold tutus, covered in glitter and carrying banners, more than 200 people gathered in Lionshead Village on Saturday, Sept. 26, to march in Vail’s CureFest 2020. The mission, according to the official CureFest website, is “to make childhood cancer research a national priority by uniting the childhood cancer community, the general public and government officials as one voice against childhood cancer.”

The event, led by 19-year-old Campbell Sullivan who is battling Stage IV CIC-DUX4, “Ewing’s Like” Sarcoma, snaked its way from Lionshead Village to the Vail Village Gondola. Along the way chants of “Go for gold,” (the international symbol for childhood cancer is the gold ribbon) and “More than 4” (the percentage of funding allocated for children’s cancer according to CureFest) were enthusiastically shouted by attendees.

Family members, friends, community members, Ski & Snowboard Club Vail coaches and teammates were among those that supported Campbell and children around the globe battling cancer.

People drove from across the state to attend the CureFest march on Saturday. As a state, Colorado had the second largest turnout nationally.
Nick Junker | Special to the Daily

Sisterly support

Campbell’s sister Caitlin, a captain in the U.S. Air Force, drove from Colorado Springs to participate in the march. She spoke of Campbell’s resilience: “Over the past three years since her diagnosis, Campbell has endured seemingly endless chemo, radiation, surgeries, as well as a stem cell transplant. But she has never let her treatment get in the way of supporting her VSSA teammates on the slopes, and more recently starting the SkiFast Foundation. Campbell has become a leading advocate for other cancer warriors, and the nationwide fight for more pediatric federal cancer research funding. I am beyond proud of her and am so thankful for everyone who came out to support our CureFest and Ski Fast Foundation walk in Vail.”

Mom Gibby echoed those thoughts, “As disappointing as it was to not be able to travel to D.C. this year for CureFest, Campbell rallied from that disappointment and created an opportunity in her own community to raise awareness and local support for pediatric cancer funding. That Campbell took a disappointment and made it an opportunity is the absolute cornerstone of her fight with cancer and is true in whatever she tackles, be it athletics, academics or advocacy. She is passionate and determined even when she can barely walk from chemo, surgery or whatever cancer throws at her. Campbell will not be derailed, she has plans to make a difference. Note that those plans will always include her community, be it the kids’ cancer community that she fights for every day or her teammates, family and friends. 

“Campbell knows that community makes you stronger and that’s from personally fighting Stage IV cancer for the past three years. Watching Campbell work with her local community today to make a national difference is inspiring not only because she is fighting cancer but because the reality is that every child like Campbell is valuable to their community. Every child fighting cancer deserves the opportunity to grow up and make their own difference in the world.”

Along the way, chants of “Go for Gold,” (the international symbol for childhood cancer is the gold ribbon) and “More than 4” (the percentage of funding allocated for children’s cancer according to CureFest) were enthusiastically shouted by attendees of the CureFest march on Saturday in Vail.
Nick Junker | Special to the Daily

It takes a village

Not surprisingly, Campbell was ecstatic with the turn out on Saturday in Vail.

“Having such amazing friends, photographers and volunteers is what made this walk happen. I am so grateful for the outpouring of support and this is why I love living in the Vail Valley,” she said. “I am so thankful to have this community behind me during every step of my journey. We had people drive from Denver, Colorado Springs and Glenwood Springs for the walk today. I was originally worried I would be too tired to walk, but my friends helped me by leading the chants and taking it slow.”

A sign with the words “Cure Childhood Cancer!” is signed by participants of the 2020 CureFest march in Vail.
Nick Junker | Special to the Daily

Ski & Snowboard Club Vail teammates Cleo Braun and Kaitlyn Harsch shared megaphone duties and got the people along the way to applaud and cheer.

Said Harsch of the event, “Childhood cancer is a hugely underfunded and under-researched disease. Children who are diagnosed with cancer at a young age are fighting a battle many of us can’t even imagine. The Curefest walk that we partook in today is such an important event, and it was so inspiring to see how many people walked with us today and feel the same way. Campbell truly brings out the best in others, and that was apparent today. She is not only a fighter, but also an advocate, and it’s great to see how many people she has brought together for such an important cause.”

Another friend and teammate, Sophia Grewal added, “Campbell has been one of my best friends for so long and her fight for cancer and how passionate she is for raising awareness has also made me very passionate for the cause. I am so proud of Campbell and everyone that came out to support our friend and everyone being affected by childhood cancer.” 

“I think the walk today was great,” said SSCV teammate Joshua Telles. “We had brought attention to all people throughout where we were walking.”

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