Going for gold: Eagle teen to lead Vail CureFest walk for childhood cancer | VailDaily.com

Going for gold: Eagle teen to lead Vail CureFest walk for childhood cancer

By Laura Bell
Special to the Daily
Campbell Sullivan supports the Olivia Hope Foundation, a foundation she works closely with at CureFest every year. The Olivia Hope Foundation was created to honor the wish of Olivia Hope LoRusso, who passed from Acute Myeloid Leukemia in 2017. It was her vision and hope that someday, children afflicted with AML (Acute Myeloid Leukemia) and other childhood cancers would not have to suffer the way she did.
Special to the Daily

Campbell Sullivan, 19, is inviting the community to join her and her friends and family Saturday morning in Lionshead Village to march for CureFest during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

The Eagle teen, who is currently undergoing chemotherapy for Stage IV CIC-DUX4, “Ewing’s Like” Sarcoma, traditionally marches in Washington, D.C. However, COVID-19 restrictions have prohibited the annual gathering. So Campbell — as is her fashion — has found the silver, or rather gold, lining.

The international awareness symbol for Childhood Cancer is the gold ribbon. And Campbell and Co. will be passing out gold ribbons and bracelets prior to the walk to Vail Village.

“Having a walk in Vail allows all my friends, family and community members to come together and use their voices for change; something that wouldn’t have been possible in previous years because not everyone can make the trip to D.C.,” she said.

When CureFest became a virtual event, Campbell started working to make the Vail event a reality.

“I’ve never had so much fun planning something. It has been tons of work, but this cause is so close to my heart,” said the girl who started her own nonprofit, The SkiFast Foundation, upon graduating from Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy.

Fighting on the home front

“This is my first year advocating in my home. I’ve been fighting for three years now and I’ve realized I can’t stay silent,” she said. “I am still here and still fighting, but so many kids aren’t. I can’t sit back and be like ‘awesome, my treatment is working’ and leave it at that. I need to do something about it. I have this opportunity and I won’t be letting it pass by.

“The walk will help spread awareness through our local community and hopefully state. I want it to get the message across that childhood cancer is not rare. Think about it, you probably can think of at least two children you know that have fought cancer,” Campbell added.

The walk will also advocate more funding from the federal government and the National Cancer Institute. Childhood cancer receives only 4% of the federal budget for cancer funding despite more than16 types of childhood cancer and 100 different subtypes. In 2017, breast cancer received $545 million of the $5 billion National Cancer Institute funding while it’s estimated that pediatric cancer received 4% of that budget, or $200 million. Each day in the United States 43 children are diagnosed with cancer.

“You think it’s rare until it happens to you,” Campbell said.

Earlier in September, Campbell traveled with her younger siblings to D.C. where she co-hosted and pre-recorded the Virtual CureFest Program. This will air on Saturday in conjunction with the walk.

Campbell and the other co-host, Katie Feeney, filmed in the D.C. studio.

“It was an amazing experience,” Campbell said. “We stood on a green screen for about two hours filming our lines with huge television studio lights and microphones above our heads. We had to look at two different cameras that were big enough to film a Marvel movie.

“I didn’t realize how tiring standing under those lights and repeating the same line 10 times would be. It was hard getting the right tone of voice and excitement for all the different lines. Then, of course, memorizing the script was another thing altogether,” she added.

Campbell Sullivan stands at the Denver City Council Building, lit up in honor of childhood cancer awareness month. Sullivan runs The SkiFast Foundation, a nonprofit public charity whose mission is to assist and support pediatric cancer patients with sarcoma cancers.
Special to the Daily

Coaching for Ski Club

This fall, Campbell had plans to start at CU Bolder, but once again COVID reared its ugly head.

“Living in a dorm while receiving chemotherapy treatments is a big risk that I wasn’t willing to take,” she said. “Being immunocompromised, I need to take extra precautions and Colorado Mountain College allows me to do that. I can take my classes online and stay close to home.”

There is the added bonus of being able to ski and coach for Ski & Snowboard Club Vail.

“Traveling with my team is my absolute favorite because they are my family. I can forget about cancer when I’m with them and focus on something that means the most to me,” she said.

And now, Campbell is asking the community and any who read this to support children with cancer just by walking.

“I encourage everyone to wear gold, yellow or white. Or if you have a childhood cancer shirt of any color, I would love for you to wear that as well. You can dress up and be bold,” she said. “I am planning to wear a gold tutu and I know my friends will be wearing ribbons in their hair.”

Not in Vail? Not a problem. Walk anywhere in the world and post a photo with the hashtag #CureFest2020 or send them to skifastfoundation@gmail.com or on social media: Instagram and Facebook @skifastfoundation or @curefestusa.

For more information about the walk or CureFest, visit @skifastfoundation on Instagram or Facebook.

Join the Vail walk

Campbell and Co. will be meeting Saturday at 10:30 a.m. in Lionshead Village at the public square near Bart and Yeti’s and Cripple Creek Backcountry for poster making and passing out of gold ribbon pins and bracelets. The walk will start at 11 a.m. heading toward Vail Village.

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