Second Park City Wendy Walk scheduled for Sunday
September 15, 2015
Last year, Park City residents Phyllis Raskin-Hadley, her husband Rick and her step-niece Jennifer Mullholland helped organize the first Park City Wendy Walk, a hike that raised funds for, and awareness of, the rare and aggressive cancer lipsarcoma.
Lipsarcoma took the life of Raskin-Hadley’s sister, Wendy Landes.
The event was such a success that another will be held this Sunday morning, beginning at the trailhead at 4500 N. Ranch Creek Ln. Registration is $40, and can be done by visiting http://www.wendywalk.org.
Wendy Walks are national events presented by Wendy Walk, a nonprofit founded by Landes’ children Ali, Matt and Jackie, said Ali Landes during an interview with The Park Record.
"This will be the second Park City walk, but the sixth walk nationwide," said Ali Landes, who is also the nonprofit’s executive director. "There was such a positive turnout last year and everyone in the community was so helpful in terms of donating auction and opportunity drawing items and coming out to raise awareness, that we decided to do it again."
Park City’s event, which will begin at 9:30 a.m., is unique because it is a hike, unlike the other Wendy Walks held in New York, Los Angeles and Miami.
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"When we posted last year’s pictures online, we got such a positive feedback from the other cities because Park City is so beautiful," Landes said.
Sunday’s plan is to hike and then enjoy a celebration.
"We will offer a stroller-friendly hike as well, so, people don’t have to shy away if they have young children or babies," Landes said.
Speaking of kids, the event will feature many children’s activities, including mural painting, soccer and Frisbee games and a scavenger hunt.
"There will be a silent auction and opportunity drawings for adults that will include items from the Sundance Resort, Stein Eriksen Lodge, Zoom and a lot of other local businesses," Landes said. "In addition to donating items for the drawings, Zoom, like it did last year, is sponsoring a full breakfast/brunch for everyone."
Dr. Sunil Sharma, FACP, chief of medical oncology and senior director of clinical research at the Huntsman Cancer Institute, will present the Park City Wendy Walk’s keynote address.
Sharma was contacted through the Alan B. Slifka Foundation, a nonprofit that, according to its mission statement, "is dedicated to the pursuit of inclusion, diversity, peace and healing to build a world safe for difference, celebrate the diversity of Jewish experience and expression in the U.S. and Israel, and to combat disease through cutting-edge biomedical research."
"They do a lot of work with sarcoma and the executive director and president, Ariella Riva Ritvo-Slifka, has a good working relationship with Dr. Sharma," Landes said. "Since we do a lot of work with the foundation, she told us to contact him."
Sharma will be accompanied by his clinical nurses so participants can ask questions to find out more about sarcoma.
Landes remembered the day she found out her mother had liposarcoma.
"It didn’t happen traditionally," she said. "She had a tumor removed during a 12-hour surgery and we thought we were done with it. Six months later, nodules grew back."
After a biopsy, Landes mother was diagnosed with liposarcoma and immediately needed to start chemotherapy.
"I lived in New York at the time and my mom lived in Los Angeles," Landes said. "I hung up the phone and cried."
That was only the beginning of the trials.
"We had no idea what was in store and how little resources were available to us," Landes said. "Sarcoma was and is still considered an orphan cancer, and that means it’s difficult to get any national funding for research. So, after the second chemo failed, we knew we had to start our own nonprofit to raise awareness and money."
Landes said she is thrilled for the Wendy Walk’s return to Park City.
"One of the main tenants of Wendy Walk is the idea that you can still be active and do exercise in the face of illness," she said. "For us to host an event in Park City last year was such a wonderful thing because Park City lends itself to healthy living, getting outdoors and enjoying the beauty of nature, even if you’re sick.
"One of my mom’s last trips before she passed away, was to rock climb and ski in Utah," Landes said. "She was only able to make a couple of runs at Deer Valley, because she was so sick, but that was her goal. So, it is special for us to come back."
The Park City Wendy Walk will be hosted by Phyllis Raskin-Hadley and her husband Rick, at the Barn at Ranch Creek Lane, 4500 N. Ranch Creek Ln., which is located at the end of Old Ranch Road, on Sunday, Sept. 20. The event will begin at 9:30 a.m. For more information, or to register, visit wendywalk.org/september-20th-park-city-wendy-walk.
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