Tubing for a good cause
Cancer is a tough diagnosis for any child to handle. Defeating the disease is even tougher. But, once the cancer is gone, survivors are often left wondering what’s next.
Olympic Nordic combined athlete Bryan Fletcher wants to help children who survive cancer chase their dreams. A childhood cancer survivor himself, Fletcher and youth luge champion Gavin Shamis, another survivor, started ccThrive, a charity designed to help kids thrive after cancer.
On Friday, March 11, Fletcher and other ccThrive members will host a fundraiser at Soldier Hollow, with tubing available for $22 from 6 to 8 p.m.
"[Soldier Hollow Executive Director] Richard [Hodges] was very gracious to offer up the tubing hill, so we decided to throw a tubing event together," Fletcher said. "Hopefully we can get some food trucks there and have that as well."
Fletcher said ccThrive offers three different elements to childhood cancer survivors — inspirational stories, a grant program and mentorships.
In addition to Fletcher’s story, Shamis recently won a youth luge championship. Other ccThrive ambassadors include Lacey Henderson, an adaptive track athlete, and Melinda Marchiano, a dancer. Fletcher said their stories prove that survivors can live with no limitations.
"Childhood cancer survivors can be whatever they want to be when they grow up," he said.
Money raised on March 11 will help ccThrive get survivors involved in chasing their dreams.
"Our grant program is offered to help kids facing financial restrictions to get involved in different programs," he said. "The program is there to assist them in getting into those activities."
The charity is still in its infancy, but Fletcher said the group is beginning to realize its potential.
"We’re definitely still in the early stages," he said. "We have a lot of work to do, but we’ve made a lot of progress. We have a great advisory board and are working with them to create different documents and brochures to help kids from when they’re newly diagnosed and into survivorship."
Fletcher is currently in Germany for the final World Cup Nordic combined event of the year, but said he’ll be back next week for the event. He added that, even with the recent warm temperatures, the snow at Soldier Hollow should be better than he and his teammates have experienced in Germany.
He said he’s excited to host an event in Park City and is also trying to set up fundraisers in his hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. He said both communities have been very supportive of him throughout his career.
"They’re great communities," he said. "And the surrounding areas are also really supportive. I’ve been lucky to have grown up in these communities."
Fletcher said there’s no pre-registration for next week’s event. Participants can pay the $22 when they arrive at Soldier Hollow.
"They actually just have to show up," he said. "Just come out to Soldier Hollow on that evening. It’ll be really casual and really relaxed. It’ll be kid-friendly, too."
For more information on the ccThrive charity organization, visit http://www.ccthrive.org .
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