Stories from Pink Vail, returning March 24 |

Stories from Pink Vail, returning March 24

Last year, Pink Vail brought in about 3,000 participants from 47 states. With 220 teams, 441 volunteers and 216 cancer survivors, 2017 was the most successful Pink Vail to date. In 2018, Pink Vail will be Saturday, March 24. Register and donate at
Townsend Bessent | Weekly file photo

Everyone has been affected by cancer in some way or form. It’s a battle that takes friends, family and a community to help those fighting for their lives.

Across the country, people run, walk and grow facial hair in the name of fighting cancer.

Here in Vail, we ski.

‘Everything They Get For Free’

Pink Vail — the biggest ski day to conquer cancer — returns to Vail Mountain on Saturday, March 24. The fundraiser brings nearly 3,000 people dressed in pink together for an all-day event featuring live music, deck parties, costume contests and more.

One of the reasons Pink Vail has grown since its inception in 2012 is because of where the money raised goes. If you donate, then there’s no question about where every cent goes toward — supporting cancer patients at the Shaw Cancer Center here in the Vail Valley.

Money raised goes directly to providing all patients at Shaw the opportunity to receive free exercise training, nutrition coaching, emotional support, massages, acupuncture, outdoor adventures and much more.

“Pink Vail is just such an important fundraiser for the cancer patients that benefit from everything that they get for free,” said Ruth Stanley, who has been participating in Pink Vail since 2012. “It’s fun. It’s really, really fun. And the team spirit of everyone cheering everyone else on is awesome.”

Money Raised

In 2017, Pink Vail proceeds funded:

2,715 fitness sessions

267 wellness and exercise classes

1,297 counseling sessions

734 massage, reiki and acupuncture sessions

429 nutrition consultations, as well as hundreds of group hikes, ski days, hut trips, cooking demos, art classes and educational lectures.

Funds also supported 50 patients through the cancer center’s Slim for Survival program.

New programs were added, including “Broga” (men’s yoga); pottery classes at Colorado Mountain College; and “Skimotherapy,” a fun day of skiing and camaraderie.

In the past six months, 100 percent of patients in active treatment used an average of 2.9 of the services offered. The goal for Pink Vail 2018 is to raise $800,000 to ensure a full year of complimentary programming remains available for all cancer patients at Shaw.

With a little over a week out of Pink Vail, $425,000 was raised with 1,138 participants, including 118 cancer survivors.

“It’s just an incredibly all-around supportive program for your emotional, physical and mental well-being,” said local musician Pat Hamilton, who was diagnosed with cancer herself. “I don’t think most people know what Pink Vail does and how it covers the cost of all these programs. Until you get cancer, or one or your friends gets cancer, you don’t realize what an incredible event Pink Vail truly is.”

In 2015, Karen Gregory was diagnosed with head and neck cancer. After receiving treatments in Denver, she and her husband moved to Eagle County full-time, and she started using Shaw for her follow-up care.

“It’s incredible the difference that the survivorship program has made in my life,” Karen said. “I’m healthier, stronger, leaner. Honestly, when I first walked into the Fit for Survival gym, I felt like a cancer patient. And when I walk in now, after all the support that I’ve had and continue to get, I feel like a success waiting to happen.”