Snowmass Gets Covered in Pink
Lauren Glendenning, The Aspen Times
There was a lot of pink at Snowmass Ski Area on Saturday, with each hue and article of ski gear representing a personal relationship with the ugliness that is cancer.
It was the 15th year for the Susan G. Komen Colorado Ski for the Cure at Snowmass that celebrates achievements in cancer research and treatment as well as survivors.
Aspen celebrity pro snowboarders Gretchen Bleiler and Chris Klug were hanging out at the Nastar course in the morning having some fun while also reflecting on the meaning of the event.
Bleiler’s grandfather died from lung cancer and she also has a friend also died from breast cancer.
“I feel like these days, most everyone has some kind of connection (to cancer), which is why I think events like this are so important to raise awareness,” she said.
For Klug, the day had a lot of meaning, especially when he thinks about two of the most important women in his life — his wife and 3½-year-old daughter. He’s always thinking about the ladies of the house and the challenges they could someday face, he said.
Klug himself dodged a very aggressive form of bile duct cancer nearly 15 years ago. Had he not had a life-saving liver transplant when he did, cancer would have likely come next.
He spent the day having a good time snowboarding, but the people in his life who have fought cancer or who are currently fighting it stayed fresh on his mind.
“It’s fun to come out here today and celebrate those guys and do everything we can to help people who are either going through battling cancer right now or in the future who need help,” Klug said.
Saturday’s event at Snowmass raised about $50,000 for Susan G. Komen Colorado, most of which stays within the Roaring Fork Valley. Michele Ostrander, chief executive officer for Susan G. Komen Colorado, said the organization plans to fund $200,000 in grants within the Roaring Fork Valley this year. The focus of the organization is to ensure people have access to quality care, she said.
“We don’t care about your ability to pay or your status,” Ostrander said. “Health care is a basic human right.”
That’s something Melanie Roschko still appreciates about the organization 18 years after her breast cancer diagnosis. The part-time Snowmass resident, who previously lived in Aspen part time for 20 years, found out she had breast cancer while in Aspen, but her husband was in California. She had done volunteer work with Susan G. Komen and immediately found a support system of women through the organization.
“Komen gives 75 percent of what’s raised back to the community,” Roschko said. “It has really helped people in this community.”
According to the nonprofit financial tracker Charity Navigator, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure organization spends nearly 83 percent of its revenues on the programs and services supporting breast cancer. Administrative expenses are listed as 6.3 percent and fundraising expenses are 10.7 percent.
Those numbers are important to survivors such as Roschko, who still thanks the powers that be for never experiencing a recurrence after all these years.
“I do really live for every day,” she said. “I just do all my check-ups; I’m very good about doing that. I still see my oncologist; … I’m diligent about that.”