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Riding in the name of "Eef’

Veronica Whitney
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In June, Bill Sutphen rode his bicycle 404 miles for his friend Jon “Eef” Efraimson.

“I have recently experienced the loss of a very special friend to cancer,” Sutphen said last week. “Jon was an incredible giving person.”

Sutphen came to Vail to present a $25,000 check to the Vail Valley Medical Center Foundation in the name of the Jon Efraimson Cancer Support Fund.



Efraimson, 36, died in February of pneumonia, a complication from battling lung cancer for eight months. Sutphen, 43, of Littleton got to know Efraimson six years ago when as chairman of the board of the Colorado Ski Museum and Ski Hall of Fame.

“Jon and his company, EEF Productions, were instrumental in creating all of our annual Hall of Fame film footage in preparation for our annual gala,” Sutphen said. “The film footage that was created over the past seven years is of Hollywood quality and was all donated by Jon and his company.”



Efraimson, who lived in the Vail Valley for 14 years, was a founding partner in EEF Productions, a local video production company synonymous with visual documentation of large and small events in Eagle and Summit counties, as well as many other resort communities.

Riding for Jon

With the help of Margie Plath, president and chief executive officer of the ski museum, the Shaw Regional Cancer Center’s Lisa Efraimson – Jon’s wife – and Ed O’Brien, president of the board of directors for the Vail Valley Medical Center, Sutphen created the fund for cancer patients and their families at the Shaw Regional Cancer Center in Jon Efraimson’s name.



“Our goal is to raise $150,000 in the next 30 days,” Sutphen said.

Sutphen, kicked off the the fund-raising effort for the Jon Efraimson Cancer Support Fund by participating in the Ride the Rockies – an annual bicycle tour that takes 2,000 cyclists on a six- to seven-day tour of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains every June. This year’s ride began June 15 in Cortez and finished June 21 at Copper Mountain.

“Our mission is to create, develop and sustain a fund-raiser of statewide proportion and reputation that embodies the spirit and energy of Jon Efraimson,” Sutphen said. “Participants and sponsors will clearly understand the value of their investment and will repeatedly seek annual participation.”

The fund

Although guidelines for the fund haven’t been established, money will be used for financial and emotional support to cancer patients and their families, said Suzanne Sloane, senior director of development for the Vail Valley Medical Center.

“This fund is of critical importance; it will be for those patients who have no insurance or have a cap on their insurance,” she said. “It will help them to complete their treatments.”

Five percent of the people treated at The Shaw Cancer Center, which serves a seven-county area, can’t pay for the treatments, Sloane said.

“The cost of cancer treatment can start in the five-figure area and can go to the six-figure area,” Sloane said. “It depends on each individual, the course of their treatment and the number of weeks of required treatment.”

Sloane said, Sutphen, Plath and Lisa Efraimson will be in charge of setting the guidelines for the fund.

“Bill and Margie Plath came to us with the idea and we thought it’s wonderful because Jon was a local,” she said. “They were very close to Jon and they wanted to pay tribute to him.”

Sutphen said his plan is to do the Ride the Rockies every year to help with fund-raising.

“Jon was an inspiration to me. He was a very generous person with a huge heart,” he said. “He was more concerned with helping others.”

Donations

To donate to the Jon Efraimson Cancer Support Fund, which provides financial support to cancer patients and their families at The Shaw Cancer Center, mail a check to the VVMC Foundation, P.O. Box 40,000, Vail, CO, 81657. Please write the name of the fund on the memo of the check.

Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or at vwhitney@vaildaily.com.


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