Vail fundraiser collects money for cancer patient |

Vail fundraiser collects money for cancer patient

Daily Staff Report
Vail CO, Colorado
Special to the DailyMike Christenberry and his 4-year-old daughter Grace. Mike is fighting stage 4 cancer. A fundraiser is being held for him at Cascade Resort and Spa on Sunday from 5 to 8 p.m.

VAIL, Colorado ” Mike Christenberry, massage therapist, husband, father and 12-year resident of Eagle County, is facing his fourth battle with cancer. On Sunday the Vail Cascade Resort and Spa, Mike’s former employer of almost 10 years, will host a fundraising event. This event is sponsored by the Vail Valley Charitable Fund and will help Mike and his family ” wife Sara Manwiller, son Max, 7, and daughter Gracie, 4 ” offset medical and household expenses while Mike is unable to work.

The event will take place in the Centennial Ballroom at the resort from 5 to 8 p.m. Parking is free. The cost is $25 at the door ” kids enter for free.

A silent auction from 5 to 7 p.m. has already drawn in hundreds of contributions for the cause. There will be a live auction with items ranging from skis, clothing, restaurant certificates, massages, golf foursomes, a chairlift, ski pass, jewelry and vacations.

Food has been donated by Markos, Eat Drink, J.R.Crickets, Marble Slab Creamery, Tramonti, Vail Cascade, Vista and Zacca Za. Live entertainment will be provided by Pat Hamilton. There will be face painting and a kids craft zone.

Diagnosed last fall with Stage 4 colon cancer complicated by tumors found in his liver, Mike is truly fighting the battle of his life, again. The other three times Mike had cancer, beginning in 1981, he had a highly resistant type of germ cell carcinoma.

From the very start, Mike adopted a strict philosophy. His world was shattered by survival statistics, some very low, but Mike said, “Statistics are about other people, I can’t be 28 percent alive, so it’s 100 percent or nothing”.

In 1995, 14 years after what was believed to be a successful surgery to remove all of the tumor, the cancer returned. Mike saw more surgery, two years of chemotherapy and radiation treatments. In 1996, they finally defeated the disease.

“It was like I had started life all over again” Mike recalls.

Then, in 2007, a new type of tumor cell was discovered. Mike had an aggressive surgery to remove the colon mass and liver tumors on Dec. 28 in New York City.

Mike’s chemotherapy treatments are now a combined effort between teams at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City and the Shaw Regional Cancer Center in Edwards. Mike travels back monthly to New York for a special type of chemotherapy, then returns to the Vail Valley to receive a systemic or ‘full body’ chemotherapy at the Shaw Center. This treatment regimen will occur for at least 6 to 8 cycles. All those involved believe that this multi-pronged approach will have the greatest chance at beating the advanced stage of the disease.

For more information about the fundraiser, call 376-2390. To make a donation, contact the VVCF at 845-6339. Donations may be mailed to the VVCF at P.O. Box 1275, Avon, CO, 81620.

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