Grand County residents step up to help others fight cancer
On Sunday, Sept. 25, nearly 275 participants gathered at a starting line under golden aspens and blue skies in Grand Lake. They ranged from young to old and included couples with dogs, children on bikes and athletes stretching their muscles in the hopes of running the best time. Amid the differences, they all had one thing in common: Their lives had been touched by cancer. Some were survivors, some had family or friends who’d survived, and others were honoring a loved one who had died due to cancer.
The 10th annual Taking Steps for Cancer 5k Run/Walk & Auction began at Daven Haven Lodge. The Taking Steps for Cancer team, led by Judy Eberly, organized the event. Granby’s Mountain Family Center and an army of volunteers helped everything run smoothly. All money raised went to the Taking Steps fund, which eases the financial burden for Grand County residents with cancer. Mountain Family Center operates the fund.
Helen Sedlar, the executive director of Mountain Family Center, said that Taking Steps has raised $700,000 through their 5K since it began, partnering with Mountain Family to ensure the money stays in Grand County. Taking Steps organizes four annual fundraisers; the 5K is their longest-standing, and largest, event of the year.
“It’s important to know that with the funds raised, each Grand County resident is eligible for $5,000,” said Sedlar.
Funds help patients offset treatment costs such as insurance deductibles, copays, transportation, lodging, meals and other travel expenses. The cancer fund has assisted 28 individuals so far this year.
Before 5K participants took off, Cheryl Manguso told the crowd how she beat cancer and how Taking Steps funded her transportation costs.
“It’s only been about nine months, so it’s still fresh in my mind, the experience that cancer patients go through,” she said. “I was able to stay in Denver for 30 days while I did my radiation instead of having to drive back and forth every day. It made the world of difference.”
After Manguso spoke to crowd, an announcer gave the signal and the participants were off. Some ran, some strolled through the picturesque Grand Lake streets.
An awards ceremony for individuals and groups followed. Top racers received medals, while Middle Park Health won an award for biggest group and a local social group, the Grand Lake Gentlemen’s Club, was honored for being the team that raised the most money.
More money flowed in through live and silent auctions, with original artwork, sports gear and snowmobiling packages included in the offerings. Live auction items included signed Avalanche Stanley Cup memorabilia, a hot air balloon ride and a guided fly-fishing trip.
Grand Lake musicians Jim McComb and Peggy Mann entertained the crowd, with McComb playing covers and Mann sharing her signature song, “Ribbons of Hope,” which she wrote with local musician Steve Cormey after Cormey did Grand Lake’s Walk for the Cure in 2008. He died of cancer in 2011.
“For all of you who are fighting this battle right now, you are so courageous,” said Mann. “We all have you in our thoughts today. I don’t think there’s one person here who hasn’t been touched by cancer.”
Survivors, their friends and their families stood in the autumn breeze, listening to Cormey’s words as Mann strummed her guitar.
“They give us the courage to endure through the strife, ribbons of pink, ribbons of life,” Mann sang. “Walk with me sister, show me the way. Walk with me brother, it’s a beautiful day. And we’ll all run together, hand in hand we are one. Brothers and sisters, the race has begun.”
To find out more about the Taking Steps for Cancer Fund and qualifications for assistance, contact Katie Stuvel at 970-557-3186 or email@example.com.
Those interested in volunteering may contact Judy Eberly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Susan Miller-Curley 27:07 (overall winner)
Teens 12-17 :
Trinleigh Vague (tie, third place)
Carly Wood (tie, third place)
Other award winners who went the extra mile:
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