Efraimson’s wishes realized in gifts to cancer patients | VailDaily.com
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Efraimson’s wishes realized in gifts to cancer patients

Carolyn Pope
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When Jon Efraimson died a year ago, the people of Vail stepped forward to help. His story touched everyone in town, from people who knew the vivacious man, founder of Eef Productions, to those who hadn’t heard his name until the cancer crept into his life.

A newlywed, Jon was diagnosed with cancer just a few short months of saying his vows. His new wife, Lisa, stuck by his side through traditional and non-traditional treatments, sleepless nights and lots of prayers.

Jon was a giver, and, when he knew that the battle might not be won, he expressed a desire to help those in similar situations to sustain them through the tough times.

“It’s not just the disease that gets you, it’s everything that goes along with it,” said Lisa. “It’s all those unforeseeable expenses, loss of income, the need for company.

“He was such a goal setter, full of motivation. Cancer was just another thing to overcome in his life,” she said. “He set out with physical goals, and to battle the cancer. What was important was to have funds available and emotional support.”

Lisa, along with Bill Sutphen of Coors and Margie Plath – two people whose lives have also been touched by cancer – decided to help set up the Jon Efraimson Cancer Fund. Sutphen made good on his promise by raising over $23,000 during the Ride the Rockies this past summer and the fund was established.

The creation of Jon’s fund is to recognize that with the shock of the diagnosis and the rigors of treatment, there is a sudden increase in household expenses for all kinds of needs not covered by insurance.

A patient’s stress level is greatly increased at the very time spent focusing on their private war on cancer. The fund’s objective is to reduce this stress where possible and help ensure that patients can continue their treatment.

The first checks were handed out this past week at a reception held at the Shaw Cancer Center in Edwards. The recipients included Bryan McKenna, a 19-year-old from Rifle, who is battling testicular cancer; Teri Parry; and Robert Wagner, whose wife, Lorrie Lopes-Wagner, passed away from cancer recently.

“The money’s going to help out a lot,” said Judy McKenna, Bryan’s mother. “You don’t really know how much it costs, until it starts to add up,” she added. “It’s the little things you took for granted, all the hidden costs.”

For more information or an application, call Vanessa Lewis, counselor, at (970)569-7606.


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