Vail Valley Scenery: Scramble raises money to detect cancer early |

Vail Valley Scenery: Scramble raises money to detect cancer early

Rosana and Johannes Faessler with Libby and Birgit Libby Maio.
Carolyn Pope | Special to the Daily |

EDWARDS — When Dr. Janice Ugale calls, Rosana Faessler listens. Faessler thought she was in for a break after the last big piece of equipment Ugale requested. No, she said, there’s a little something else she needed, couldn’t Rosana help?

Ugale, a radiologist who splits her time between Denver and the Shaw Regional Cancer Center in Edwards, specializes in breast imaging. She also knows that when she needs something that will help the hospital and cancer center, Faessler is the woman to call. She gets things done and, apparently, doesn’t know the meaning of the word “no.”

This time, the call was for a more sophisticated 3G type scanner that costs around $400,000.

Cancer is a disease that touched Faessler early on. Her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1980s, so she knows the importance of good diagnostic equipment. She traveled from Brazil to the renowned MD Anderson Center in Houston many times for treatment. Of course, a city the size of Houston and well-heeled operation such as MD Anderson has the latest technology and first-rate diagnostic equipment.

“Why not Vail?” questioned Faessler. She shared her dreams with several people at the Vail Valley Medical Center, including Art Kelton, who was the president of the Vail Valley Medical Center Foundation.

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“She came to me and told me her mother had died of breast cancer. She wanted to give back and asked us if she could step up and raise money for equipment that would be specifically designated for the diagnosis of cancer,” Kelton said. “The equipment she helps purchase is always diagnostic and curative.”

So, along with a handful of other people, like George McNeill and Sheika Gramshammer, she plunged in and started raising money. In 1997, the Sonnenalp of Vail Foundation was founded, and the first Scramble Against Cancer was held.

The Scramble is now in its 16th year and has raised almost $2,000,000.

The tournament is a valley favorite, not just for the world-class golf, but also because the Faessler family pulls out all the good stuff to keep the donors and golfers happy. The food is the best that the Sonnenalp has to offer, from oysters on the half shell to prime rib, and plenty of wine and beer. A band always plays, and the prizes are always wonderful.

“It’s the longest running independent fundraiser for the hospital,” Kelton added. “The event receives no direct help from the hospital. Rosana and her staff and volunteers do it all themselves. She does a magnificent job.”

For more information on the Sonnenalp Foundation, its upcoming events or how you can become involved, call 970-479-5700 or visit

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