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Letters

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In the old days out in the country in farming communities you used to hear about someone whose barn burned down and how all the neighbors came together to help rebuild that barn when needed. I liken that to what everyone in our community did for us. You have helped us to rebuild.Last Saturday, Nov. 9, at the Kaltenberg Castle in Vail, hundreds of you braved a stormy night to help us with a fund-raising event. It’s hard to describe the love and caring that we felt the entire evening from our family, friends, members of the community, and otherwise very caring people.We were moved by everyone’s desire to be at the event despite a very icy evening. Everyone there made us feel very special and inspired us to keep doing what we’re doing, keep up the faith, and the fight so that we can beat our current adversity.We have to begin by thanking the many people who helped make this event possible. To begin with, Pavan Krueger has led the charge from the beginning. Kate Carey came and got her organization, the Vail Valley Charitable fund involved and brought her and its experience to the fray. Many others, including Hayden Scott (emcee extraordinaire), Kurt and Martha Krieg, Pat and Laura Campbell, Naomi Scott, Katrina Ammer, Tish Palmer, Carla Sutherland, Joel Heath, Claire Thayer, Stacey Gunderson, Ellen Moritz, Karl Krueger, Molly Hornsby, Ian Anderson, Joe Blair, Dana DelBoscoe (live auction queen), Meggen Bernstein, Amy Balow, Ceil Folz, Ann and Craig George, Artie Davies, Kathy Stang, Todd Howe, Bill Seivert, Mike Wiegele Helicopter skiing, the Vail Daily, The Vail Trail, KZYR, KTUN, KVBA TV8, The staff of EEF Productions, The Harry Baxter Band, The Kaltenberg Castle, The Steadman Hawkins Clinic, Vail Resorts, the Vail Valley Foundation, and so many others made this event a great success. I know that there were many others involved, so we must thank everyone for their hard work and support and for those who attended the event.By some peoples’ calculations there were around 800 people there in a space that should only fit 350. I was especially moved by the 10-15 great friends who shaved their heads in my honor. The auctioning of the bachelors and bachelorettes set the tone for a fun evening.I was amazed by the generosity of the folks during the live and silent auction. Most of all I was generally touched by everyone’s overwhelming support and love throughout the whole evening. I only wished that we could have had a chance to speak more with each and everyone of you.For me the evening started out great. A lady named Judy who is a second homeowner and read the articles in the newspapers, introduced herself to me. In March of 2001 she was diagnosed with Adenocarcinoma throughout both sides of her lungs and in a couple of other places. She went through chemotherapy like I’m going through and participated in a similar clinical trial. Since that time her tumors have almost entirely disappeared.I’ve read a lot of stories about good things like this happening, but I’ve never met a real life person who has had such success. It is stories like this one that make me feel like I can do this and beat this monster. Judy, thank you for making my day and my night. I hope to tell the same story back to you in a year in a half or less.I was also fortunate to speak with Jeff, who is a local young man who is battling an inoperable brain tumor. Jeff has also seen some progress, which is great. We exchanged stories of our treatment, our general health, and the feelings that we go through our treatment and our new lives. Jeff, it was so good to meet you and thank you for sharing your story with me.Cancer will touch one in three people in the country, which is a staggering statistic. There are a few of groups in Vail that are trying to help people cope with all the facets of this disease that victims deal with. One is the Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group, another is the Vail Cancer Support Group, which meets at the Shaw Cancer Center on Tuesdays. Still another is First Descents, which brings kids from all over the country for a week of kayaking and team-building here in Vail. Another group that is important to me is the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF). Their mission is defining cancer survivorship as “enhancing the quality of life for those living with, through, and beyond cancer.”Some great friends contacted the LAF on my behalf and Bianc Rodriquez sent a letter back to me. Here is part of what she wrote:”As you pointed out in one of your e-mails, Lance’s greatest acccomplishment is not winning the Tour de France, but beating the Tour de France of illnesses cancer. We at the foundation are motivated everyday by people like you, men and women who continue to fight and survive in the midst of immeasurable odds. You are our hope and inspiration.”Lance once said, “I’m very firm in my belief that cancer is not a form of death. I chose to redefine it: it is part of life.” He then went on to make an acronym of the word: Courage, Attitude, Never give up, Curability, Enlightenment, and Rembrance of my fellow patients.”Thank you Lance for donating a signed hat, book, and the video you sent; it was great to make you part of our special evening.We will continue to be involved in these organizations that have given us inspiration and continue to support cancer survivorship.Finally, as we move forward. We will never forget this evening. Your grand show of support touched our hearts, warmed our lives, and made it a lot easier to deal with the many of our financial challenges ahead. You have given us more reasons to get up every day and put on a smile and face each day. I know that we will never be able to fully repay the kindness that you’ve all shown; however, my guarantee to you is that we will always keep our head up, live each day, continue to fight this battle as hard as we can, and we will survive.”When I find myself fading, I close my eyes and find that my friends (and family) are my energy” — AnonymousThank you all for your gift of friendship, kindness and hope. We will remember you and this night forever.Love,Lisa and Jon Efraimson, and BadgerAvon


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