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Lunch with famous cancer survivors mom

Nic Corbett

AVON When the Celebration of Life luncheon comes to a close, raffle-winners will take the flowery centerpieces home to replant them in their own gardens. The idea (is) that the celebration of life can continue once you leave the luncheon, said Kristin Kenney Williams, spokeswoman for the Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group, which puts on the July 19 luncheon.The Wildflower Farm Garden Center and Gift Shop in Edwards provided the annual and perennial flowers that will decorate 35 tables at the 12th annual event. Linda Armstrong Kelly, the mother of seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, is slated to speak. Kelly, whose son famously battled cancer, will be promoting her book No Mountain High Enough: Raising Lance, Raising Me as well as expressing a message of survival, Williams said. Her discussion centers around raising her son, certainly, and what contribution she made to the huge amount of success he has had in the world of athletics, Williams said. (She will also speak about) being the mother of a cancer survivor, what roles she played while he was battling cancer and being able to talk about his story of survival, so that people in the audience can relate to that, whether they are currently battling cancer or are cancer survivors themselves. Kim Christiansen, a KUSA channel 9 news anchor, whose sister was recently diagnosed with breast cancer, will be making some remarks, as well. The luncheon typically brings in about $15,000, but this year is looking even brighter, Williams said. Weve had the best sponsor support that weve ever had, so were looking to at least double our revenue this year, she said. Its been just an incredible year of support, which is very exciting.In previous years, organizers could only accommodate 130 guests. Now that the luncheon has been moved to the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch, 350 guests may attend. So far, more than 200 people have purchased tickets. The event will start off with a silent auction and raffle at 11:30 a.m. A Walt Horton sculpture valued at $1,000, and clothing and restaurant gift certificates, among other things, will be auctioned off.

Funds raised go toward the Day to Play program, financial assistance, and donations toward breast cancer treatment facilities in the area.All the money that the Breast Cancer Awareness Group raises stays right here in Eagle County, Williams said. The Day to Play program provides women diagnosed with breast cancer with $500, which they may use however theyd like. Some use it to finance their medical costs, while others use it for a day at the spa or weekend away. Weve found equally important to medical treatment is treating yourself emotionally, Williams said. The group raised a total of $350,000 during a 12-year period. In the past two years, it gave $50,000 to the Cancer Caring House, a 10,000-square-foot building to be built next to the Shaw Regional Cancer Center, and $75,000 to the Sonnenalp Breast & Diagnostic Imaging Center, which is within the cancer center.The organization also helps fund Bracca testing at the Cancer Center, which pre-screens women to determine whether they are predisposed to breast cancer. At the luncheon, organizers try to combine inspiration with education, Williams said.While we dont have a cure for breast cancer yet, the greatest thing we can do is to raise awareness, she said. Vail Daily, Vail, Colorado


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