Deer Valley opens with Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Shred for Red fundraiser
Shred for Red, a fundraiser that benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, will help Deer Valley open its winter season on Saturday, Dec. 7.
This is the second year the nonprofit has partnered with the resort to host the event, said Emily Milam, LLS Utah Chapter campaign director.
Registration opens at 8 a.m. at the Snow Park Lodge, and shredders can hit the slopes once the lifts open, according to Milam. Registration is also open online lls.org/shredforred. Participants can sign up as individuals, join and existing team or create their own team.
A new activity this year is called the Lodge Lounger, an option for those who are not skiers, but still want to participate in Shred for Red, she said.
“People can come out and hang out at the 2002 Lounge to enjoy some food and participate in trivia games in a cozy environment to help raise funds,” Milam said. “We also added some new challenges that we want to keep secret so people don’t start snooping around the resort ahead of time.”
Returning Shred for Red activities will include the return of scavenger hunts, where participants will search for avalanche rescue dogs, landmarks and Olympians, Milam said.
Participating Olympians will include Bryan Fletcher, former Olympic Nordic combined athlete and Shred for Red organizing committee member, cross-country skier Liz Stephen, Nordic combined skier and former U.S. Ski Team coach Dave Jarrett, Paralympic skier Chris Waddell, freestyle skiers Kris “Fuzz” Federson and Shannon Bahrke Happe.
Fletcher, who scheduled the athletes, said there would be more names.
“We are working to get 12 Olympians to the event,” he said.
Fletcher, who, along with USA Youth Luge Champion Gavin Shamis, runs ccThrive, a nonprofit that benefits childhood cancer survivors, has a personal connection with the mission of Shred for Red, having been diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was 4.
“I went through three-and-a-half years of chemotherapy, and in the midst of that, I suffered a stroke and an allergic reaction to one of the therapy drugs,” he said.
Fletcher discovered skiing after overcoming those setbacks during a two-year remission study.
“It was one of those things that would make me happy,” he said. “I asked my parents if I could do ski jumping. They were worried about me doing that in my state, but I used my negotiating skills to let me go and try a jump. And they knew they couldn’t stop me from doing it once they saw my joy.”
Another Park City resident, Dr. Robert “Winnie” Winn, medical director for Deer Valley Resortand Park City Mountain Resort, also has a connection to Shred for Red.
“The Leukemia Lymphoma Society came to me a year and a half ago and said they were thinking of doing a ski fundraiser and asked if I had any connections,” Winn said. “So I connected two of my favorite organizations, Deer Valley and Leukemia Lymphoma Society, and that’s how this fundraiser started.”
Winn’s connection with LLS was “accidental,” he said.
“My wife Nancy was diagnosed in May of 2005 with acute myeloid leukemia, and when Nancy got sick, I wasn’t able to function in this small town,” Winn said. “I needed an alternate way to communicate, (because) this was before the time of Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter.”
So he used a new technology: email.
“I was amazed that you could send one email to a whole group, and that’s how I communicated to others during the time when my wife was sick,” he said.
To Winn’s surprise, the late Polly Stern, who was Deer Valley’s owner at the time, had compiled the emails and sent them in a box as a gift.
“Eight years later, those emails were discovered and became a book called ‘Night Reflections,’ which is why I call myself an accidental author,” Winn said. “I decided to donate all the money from the proceeds of the book to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.”
Winn, whose wife is healthy today, became an ambassador for the organization and has traveled across the country giving talks to families of cancer patients and the medical community.
“That was especially good, because I’m not someone who can raise funds,” he said. “I’ve not been able to ask people for money. So this was a way for me to give back.”
Last year’s Shred for Red overwhelmed Winn.
“When I saw my Deer Valley family connect with my Leukemia Lymphoma Society it was magical,” he said.
Requirements and goals
This year’s Shred for Red will wrap around 1:30 p.m. with an apres ski at the lodge, Milam said.
“We will also hand out awards and celebrate what everyone was able to do during the day,” Milam said. “It will be a lovely, lovely time.”
There are minimum requirements that need to be met in order to participate in Shred for Red, Milam said.
“Anyone who is a Deer Valley season pass holder or someone who isn’t going to ski that day are required to raise at least $150,” she said. “Those who want a ski pass to join us on the slopes need to raise at least $300. The money will include a ski pass, a commemorative bib and access to the apres ski reception.”
Last year, Shred for Red raised $84,000, and this year the goal is more than doubled at $200,000, according to Milam. Thanks to pre-event fundraising, LLS has already raised more than $76,000.
“So we still have a ways to go,” she said.
Every three minutes someone in the United States is diagnosed with blood cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.
“That translates to roughly 1.5 million people who are currently under treatment,” Milam said.
Last year, LLS Utah Chapter spent more than $466,000 to help 167 blood cancer patients in Utah, she said.
“One of my favorite programs is travel assistance, where we make sure patients that need to come to Utah for treatment at the Huntsman Cancer Institute or (Intermountain) LDS Hospital can get here,” she said. “And we helped with many patients’ copayments, as well as some of their urgent needs.”
LLS also invested $550,000 in blood cancer research, Milam said.
“I feel lucky that the money we raise in Utah with events such as Shred for Red are put back into the patients’ needs and research done here,” she said.
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