Duct tape heals one woman’s cancer
VAIL — Duct tape does not cure cancer. But in the case of Anne Trumpower, it has healed hers.
Trumpower is known as the “duct tape lady” to those who have attended Pink Vail, the world’s biggest ski day to conquer cancer. Since the event’s inaugural year in 2012, Trumpower has donned a one-piece ski suit, which she has duct taped from top to bottom — in pink, of course. On her back, she has taped a number to mark the years she’s been cancer free. On March 21, when an expected 2,500 participants take to Vail Mountain in everything from pink spandex to boas and bras, Trumpower will be wrapped in duct tape with the number 12 on her back.
“It’s cathartic,” she said. “When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, I was shocked. But I knew I had to fight it, and with the help of Shaw Regional Cancer Center, I beat it! Skiing Pink Vail with that number on my back reminds me, my family and everyone else that we can beat cancer.”
Trumpower’s passion for skiing and the outdoors led her to Vail in 1979. Since 2002, she and her husband split their time between Vail and Maryland, but when she was diagnosed with cancer, she decided she would pursue treatment at Shaw.
“The first time I walked in the door at Shaw Regional Cancer Center, I felt like I was going to be a survivor,” she said. “The loving care there is incredible. It’s warm, it’s friendly and I knew they would take good care of me.”
Because of her active lifestyle and passion for the outdoors, Trumpower received chemotherapy and radiation treatments in the afternoons so she could ski during the day. She took advantage of free fitness classes offered through the Spirit of Survival program, which is funded by Pink Vail.
“They helped me get stronger and feel stronger,” Trumpower said.
Trumpower isn’t the only patient to take advantage of Shaw’s growing Spirit of Survival program. In 2014, Pink Vail provided 1,352 free fitness sessions, 848 emotional support sessions, 492 massage or acupuncture sessions, 423 nutrition consultations and funding for hundreds of participants to enjoy group snowshoes, cooking demonstrations, art and pottery classes, hikes and educational lectures — all at no cost to Shaw’s patients. These services can dramatically impact quality of life, but are not typically covered by insurance.
“The Spirit of Survival program is designed to complement the high-quality, compassionate care our highly trained physicians and staff provide,” said Vail Valley Medical Center’s President and CEO Doris Kirchner. “Tailored to each patient’s needs and goals, the program has helped so many people survive — and thrive.”
Programs like Spirit of Survival — not to mention the relaxing setting of Shaw Regional Cancer Center and its breathtaking views of the Sawatch Mountain Range — set Shaw apart from cancer centers around the country.
“The care at Shaw is just as good as any big city cancer center, but it’s comfy and warm,” Trumpower said. “You know you’re going to be taken care of. At Shaw, you’re not a number, you’re a person. … I participate in Pink Vail because Shaw means so much to me and I feel like every little bit we can give to Shaw will help everyone in the community. It’s also the best party on the mountain!”
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 provides an opportunity for everyone to commemorate our united fight against cancer,” Kirchner said. “It’s a way for people to honor their loved ones while raising funds to help those fighting a battle.”
“For me, wearing that number on my back is so important because I know it marks another year as a cancer survivor,” Trumpower said. “For everybody that’s there, they see my number change, and they’re happy for my celebration, too.”
Pink Vail has raised over $1 million in its first three years, and the fundraising goal in 2015 is $500,000. Participants have ranged in age from 2 to 84 years old, and come from all over the U.S. with donations pouring in from all 50 states and nearly a dozen countries. Pink Vail funds the Spirit of Survival program, which offers all cancer patients and survivors at Shaw Regional Cancer Center the opportunity to receive free exercise training, nutrition coaching, emotional support, outdoor adventures, a nurse navigator, massages, alternative treatments and more.
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 Vail Daily.