Hundreds attend benefit for injured local freeskier Kailyn Forsberg | VailDaily.com

Hundreds attend benefit for injured local freeskier Kailyn Forsberg

EAGLE — The Forsberg family is thankful they're not going through this alone.

More than 800 people showed up for Friday's Caring for Kailyn event, hosted by the Vail Valley Charitable Fund.

Kailyn Forsberg's thought kept rolling around their heads, "Could you imagine going through this without friends?"

No, and the Forsberg's don't have to imagine it either.

Kailyn, 15, said she was surprised and touched by the outpouring of love and support.

"I thought we'd have a couple people from Eagle and Gypsum, not the whole town," she said smiling.

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The Brush Creek Pavilion and park were packed with hundreds of people, dozens of live and silent auction items, and food — lots and lots of food.

"I was so happy with everything and everyone," Kailyn said.

"Clearly our community has her back," said Mitch Forsberg, Kailyn's dad. "We have folks in her corner. The outpouring of love, care and support was palpable. You could feel it. Tearfully (and positively) overwhelming."

Over the moon

The event was over the moon, after a fashion.

As the evening hit its stride, the sun set in a blaze of color, and a huge full moon rose over the mountain ranges to the east.

Red was the other dominant color, the color of the T-shirts worn by dozens of Vail Valley Charitable Fund volunteers.

"The event was truly wonderful. With the sunset and the moon rise it was almost magical," Mitch said. "Such a beautiful testament to the power of community. "Who's to say that you actually have to have met someone to consider them a friend? Neighbors from 20 years ago and preschool teachers from a dozen years back counted themselves on that list. Unbelievable!"

"From the core group of individuals who were at the center of the benefit from the beginning, to those that signed up or showed up last minute to lend a hand, unbelievable!" Mitch said.

The Vail Valley Charitable Fund has been planning this event since late April, just weeks after Kailyn was injured while competing in a national free skiing championship at Copper Mountain.

"This was our community at its best!" said Michelle Maloney, of the Charitable Fund. "We were overwhelmed by the response, from vendors supplying items for the silent auction, to all the people that attended the event."

Maloney sent a special thank you to the Gypsum Elementary School teachers who helped put the event together. Mitch is the principal there.

How it happened

Kailyn had already finished second twice in April's USASA nationals at Copper Mountain, when a crash in the slopestyle event left her with a broken pelvis, dislocated hip and a fractured vertebrae impacting the spinal cord.

She was immediately air lifted to Children's Hospital in Aurora, where she underwent extensive surgery.

She currently has limited movement below her chest.

The medical bills are expected to top seven figures, and insurance won't cover it all.

Donations have been coming through the Vail Valley Charitable Fund and http://www.youcaring.com.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

To contribute

To help, contribute through the Vail Valley Charitable Fund at vvcf.org, or online at http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/care-for-kailyn-forsberg-/335528#.VSdHE17KcBw.email

You may send cards of good wishes to Kailyn and her family c/o Gypsum Elementary School, PO Box 570 Gypsum, CO 81637.