Pink Vail hits home
Cancer survivors participating: 211
States participating: 46
Dollars raised: $734,611
Five-year total: Over $2.4 million
VAIL — Pink Vail is a day of costumes, live music, friends, family and, most importantly, it’s a fundraiser for the Shaw Regional Cancer Center.
This year, the annual biggest ski day to conquer cancer raised more than $700,000 that goes directly to the patients receiving treatment and support during a difficult time in life.
For Robyn Specthrie, a cancer survivor and current fighter, the cause really hits home. She’s seen the impact the funds from Pink Vail have, and she’s made it a mission to do the most she can for the cause.
“Fundraising for Pink Vail became a way for me to turn my own negative thoughts into something positive to help others,” she said. “Every night when I started crying and feeling bad for myself, I got on my computer and just started thinking outside the box.”
Her can-do attitude and fight for life led Specthrie to captain the Team Double Stuffed team at Pink Vail on Saturday. Her team did more than win the costume contest, they raised the most money of any team — more than $40,000 — and Specthrie herself raised nearly $19,000 of that.
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“Pink Vail has been a good way for me to turn all of that negative into, ‘OK, how can you help the most people at once?’” she said.
Specthrie was diagnosed with cancer 14 years ago. She said she’s learned a lot and met a lot of friends.
“At the end of the day, I know 86 people who have had cancer at this point,” she said. “I’ve lost 34 to cancer. In the last month, I’ve lost four of my friends locally to cancer, so it really hits home.”
Specthrie and her team raised a good chunk of money in March at a fundraiser in Edwards at Juniper and Main St. Grill. They also hosted a night at Montana’s Smokehouse in Avon as well as the individual efforts of the team members.
“I’ve known Robyn for years, and we’ve become quite good friends in the past two years or so,” said Anna-Maria Ray, of Edwards. “This year when she was doing Pink Vail, I really wanted to help because, as you know, she’s got some challenges herself.”
Pink Vail is a special event in that you know exactly where every dollar donated is going, as opposed to the larger corporate events where money goes all over the place.
“Here, you know what you’re raising is going to take care of the locals who need it,” Specthrie said.
While it’s a local cause, Specthrie is expanding its reach, building a team with members from around the U.S., including Aspen ski patrollers.
“I look at it as Shaw services the whole Western Slope,” Specthrie said, “and we need to get more people involved. I feel like Pink Vail needs to be a brand, not just necessarily a single event.”
Pink Vail had nearly 3,000 participants ranging in age from infants to 88 years old, including 211 cancer survivors participating. The five-year fundraising total for Pink Vail topped $2.4 million this year, and as always, it was a beautiful sunny day.
“I think God always smiles on the mountain every Pink Vail. I really do,” Ray said. “I think the most important thing is as a team we were really able to pull together. For next year, it would be great if all teams worked closer as well.”
Pink Vail is a staple event now, and its overarching message is similar to Specthrie’s.
“The only thing you can leave behind when you go is the memory and impression that you leave on others,” she said. “I’ve learned that from all of my friends who’ve died. They all did really amazing things the last year of their lives to help others because they realized everything else they had wasn’t going with them. That, to me, is huge, and that is how I will live my life forever.”
Reporter Ross Leonhart can be reached at 970-748-2915 and firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Instagram at colorado_livin_on_the_hill.