Vail Breast Cancer Group: And so it goes … |

Vail Breast Cancer Group: And so it goes …

Brenda Himelfarb
Special to the Daily

Twenty-six years ago, breast cancer was not something that was a subject of conversation. Except for physicians and those that were diagnosed, most people were uninformed about the disease. And those that were diagnosed didn’t want to talk about it.  Yet people, especially women, were being diagnosed every day.

Twenty-six years ago, there was no Shaw Cancer Center. There was no Sonnenalp Breast Center. There was, however, the Vail Breast Cancer Awareness Group, which was created to inform residents in Eagle Country about the disease and to support those who were diagnosed.

Since the first meeting that Patti Weinstein, my co-founder, and I held, the VBCAG — all volunteers — has donated over $1 million to Vail Health and, over the years, has supported hundreds of neighbors both financially and emotionally. We began with a luncheon and fashion show at the Lodge at Vail, that featured former newscaster Linda Ellerbee speaking and Mrs. Betty Ford modeling. That winter we had the first Snowshoe Shuffle and during the summer we had a Run for the Hills. The valley was smaller then, and it felt like everyone showed up to support us.

Over the years we initiated and donated to various hospital projects to show our support. We donated to the building of the Shaw as well as helped with the purchase of many pieces of diagnostic equipment including reflective technology that is used to mark tumors in the breast before surgery. We also designed two projects to uplift those newly diagnosed: a gift of $500 for a Day to Play and a Shine On Bag filled with healing products.

We now feel that part of our mission, after 26 years, is completed: we’ve helped to make Eagle County “aware” of breast cancer — so we have changed our name to the Vail Breast Cancer Group. As well, we will no longer be an independent nonprofit but rather have joined forces with the Vail Valley Charitable Fund. Yet, within the fund, our focus will still remain breast cancer and supporting those who are diagnosed with a gift of $500 for a Day to Play as well as a Shine On Bag!

Support Local Journalism

One change, however, is that we will no longer be receiving the names of those diagnosed from Vail Health. And that is where you can help.  If you are an Eagle County resident and are diagnosed with breast cancer or have a loved one or good friend who has been diagnosed, please contact the VVCF so they can put us in touch with you.

We are excited to be a part of the VVCF whose mission is to provide financial assistance to those who are suffering from a medical crisis or long-term illness. Over the years, they have been a lifeline to hundreds. And, like the Vail Breast Cancer Group, they support only Eagle County residents. Our neighbors. Our friends.

Thank you for all the support you have given the Vail Breast Cancer Group over the years. We’re still there for you.

Only our phone number has changed.

Brenda Himelfarb is a co-founder of the Vail Breast Cancer Group. Contact the Vail Valley Charitable Fund at or 970-524-1480.

Support Local Journalism