Pink Vail has raised millions of dollars since 2012, here’s where that money goes
World's biggest ski day to conquer cancer returns March 16
Pink Vail started in 2012 as the world’s biggest ski day to conquer cancer, with 100 percent of funds raised benefitting patients at Shaw Cancer Center in Edwards through its Spirit of Survival program, which provides unique services to improve quality of life for patients.
In 2018, more than $900,000 was raised at Pink Vail.
On Saturday, March 16, the slopes of Vail Mountain will turn pink once again. And while the annual event focuses on pink — the color associated with breast cancer awareness — all proceeds go toward enhancements in patient care and programming for all types of cancer.
“It’s about community. It’s about quality of life and really getting out there and forging these new relationships that you never expected to get out of a cancer diagnosis,” said Stacy Toyama, vice president of the Shaw Cancer Center, who gets to see the impacts of Pink Vail first hand. “It’s just really cool the way it impacts people.”
‘Knowing that we have those funds …’
Pink Vail attracts thousands of participants each year, with almost 2,500 in 2018. Participants can sign up individually or join a team — last year, there were more than 200 teams. For the past several months, teams have been raising funds through events across the valley.
Shout out to Team Double Stuffed — raising over $32,000 as of early March.
While many cancer fundraisers send money to research, the dollars from Pink Vail go directly to helping people, and their families, faced with the disease.
Most importantly, Pink Vail produces results. More than 2,000 fitness sessions, 1,000 counseling sessions, 500 nutrition consultations, 260 exercise classes with 800 participants and almost 850 massages, reiki and acupuncture sessions in 2018 are all a direct result from Pink Vail.
Participants of Pink Vail have also helped fund more employees for Shaw Cancer Center to provide the care patients deserve whenever, wherever.
“We’ve been able to bring on more positions which are supported by those Pink Vail funds,” Toyama said. “Folks have needs. Their families have needs. We need to be there to help them.”
Patients averaged using more than three of Shaw Cancer Center’s survivorship services in 2018.
In addition to added services, funds from Pink Vail go toward things that pop up, too, such as purchasing alternative wraps to offer instead of hospital gowns. Toyama first addressed this issue after seeing a patient walking down the hallway with one and immediately knew they needed to get more for others.
“She was walking like she was on a runway,” Toyama said of the woman. “Knowing that we have those funds and support, when we have patients who find something that works for them, we’ve got dollars that we can grab to help.”
Always looking for the next best thing to help people, Toyama and the staff at Shaw Cancer Center regularly track if a program is successful with patients. Toyama also said home health needs are important.
“We’re going to continue to explore what it is that patients feel can make a difference for them,” she said. “What is it that their families feel can make a difference for them?”
Still time to join Pink Vail
In 2018, almost 2,500 people joined Pink Vail, with more than 200 teams and 300 volunteers. More than 1,000 people were registered as of early March this year, including 125 cancer survivors.
The day includes a costume contest, live music, celebration of life ski down, deck checkpoint challenge and more.
The team at Shaw Cancer Center will “absolutely” be out there on March 16, Toyama said.
“We love it,” she said.
Where the money goes
In 2018, Pink Vail funded the following opportunities for patients at Shaw Cancer Center:
- Counseling: 1,230 sessions
- Nutrition: 568 consultations
- Fitness: 2,367 sessions
- Exercise classes: 265 classes with 814 participants
- Massage, reiki and acupuncture: 839 sessions
- Slim for Survival: 20 participants
- Other programs: 718 survivors participated in survivorship programs
- New positions and expanded staff: Seven
Every cancer, every color
Pink Vail benefits all patients at Shaw Cancer Center, which treats the following cancers (including many not on this list):
- Brain and nervous system
- Colon and digestive system
- Female reproductive
- Lung and respiratory
- Oral and pharynx
- Prostate and testicular
- Soft tissue
- Other types of cancer
Sign up on Saturday, March 16
Day-of registration will be available for Pink Vail (just follow the sea of pink). Registration will be at the base of the mountain at Pink Vail Headquarters in Golden Peak, east of Vail Village. Choose to either start a team or join a team, or sign up as an individual. Cost is $25 per person 12 years old and younger and $35 for those 13 years or older. Pink Vail volunteers at the registration tent will be checking people in from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. To register in advance, visit http://www.pinkvail.com/register.
Assistant editor Ross Leonhart will be at Pink Vail snowboarding for his dad, who past away in 2018 from prostate cancer. Contact him at email@example.com and 970-748-2984. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.