Snowshoers aim to stomp out cancer |

Snowshoers aim to stomp out cancer

Story and photos by Carolyn Pope
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Stomping through the snow in webbed feet: sweating, freezing – thighs burning. And I paid money for this?

Somehow, doing something physical – climbing a mountain – seemed much more appropriate than sipping wine at a luncheon. It was all in support of cancer research, and suddenly, the 5K trek on top of the mountain didn’t seem like such a feat.

“I’m having more and more friends who have cancer, so I’m here in support of the others,” said snowshoer Julia Wallace.

The annual Snowshoe Shuffle, organized by the Vail Valley Medical Center Foundation, began in 1994 with 175 participants and 25 volunteers. Today, it’s billed as the “largest snowshoe race in the country.” The 2004 shuffle had approximately 1,000 participants from over 26 states, Canada and Europe.

Seventy percent of all participants run in honor of someone who has suffered from cancer, survived cancer or lost their life to cancer. Five percent are cancer survivors themselves.

“I think that the Shaw Cancer Center is one of the most marvelous assets in the community,” stated Nancy Knill. “I am a cancer survivor and I drove to Denver several times a week for six weeks for chemo. I was one of the lucky ones that I had the strength. But with the cancer center here, people don’t have to face that.”

The 11th Annual Snowshoe Shuffle raised funds for cancer prevention, education and early detection programs. All of the net proceeds are invested as directed by the Women’s Cancer Coalition, operating under the auspices of Vail Valley Medical Center Foundation.

The Women’s Cancer Coalition consists of a group of fund-raisers who host cancer awareness events in Eagle, Summit and Lake counties. All proceeds from events and programs sponsored by the cancer coalition are spent on patient services, education and special projects.

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