By Jann Wiswall
Breast cancer strikes women (and men) of all ages. The founders of Boarding for Breast Cancer know this firsthand. A friend and fellow snowboarder, Monica Steward, was diagnosed with an advanced stage of the disease at age 26. She died two years later.
While there’s no way to know if an earlier diagnosis might have saved Steward, it is well documented that early detection significantly improves survival rates. And it is also known that younger people are not as aware that the disease can strike – and strike harder – as early as age 15.
In an effort to bring this knowledge to a younger population, B4BC was founded in 1996. Its youth-focused educational and prevention programs at colleges, music festivals and ski areas across the country have grown exponentially. And Holiday Valley and The Boardroom is now a major fundraiser for the cause.
The Boardroom/Holiday Valley’s event began small in 2009, but it has been growing steadily. In its first four years, the Board-a-Thon raised nearly $40,000 for B4BC and its other beneficiary, the Buffalo area’s Women’s Oncology Program at Camp Good Days. In 2012 alone, The Boardroom/Holiday Valley event came close to its goal of raising $20,000 for these organizations. This year, some new fundraising – and fun – activities are planned to ensure that goal is met.
“We’re trying to expand the program to reach the entire resort this year,” said Jane Eshbaugh, Holiday Valley’s marketing director. “To that end, we’re holding a new event – a Tribute Ride – down Mardi Gras for skiers and boarders alike.”
Participants in the Tribute Ride can register at the Mountain Top Warming Hut by noon, and for a $10 donation they will receive a pink cowbell (courtesy of Holiday Valley’s newest sponsor, I-Evolve Technology Services). At 12:30 p.m., the mountain should be filled with the sounds of ringing bells as skiers and boarders descend, drawing attention to the issue and encouraging all to participate in big or little ways throughout the day.
The Board-a-Thon has lots more to offer, too. Morning snowboarding clinics will be taught by the pros of the American Association of Snowboard Instructors. Pink lift ticket ribbons are available for a $1 donation beginning Feb. 1. And, the always popular Chinese and silent auctions for unique items, gift baskets and snowsport accessories start at noon on the top floor of the Holiday Valley Lodge.
Samantha Timkey from The Boardroom said they have scored some amazing donated items for this year’s event including Smith I/O goggles, a ton of Under Armour gear, some awesome Betty Rides goodies and a GNU B Pro board that is signed by Barrett Christy!
But, you don’t have to be a skier or snowboarder to help, Timkey noted. Anyone can donate any time at The Boardroom, which founded the event with Holiday Valley in 2009. Plus, B4BC will be on site all day at its booth where you can learn about the organization and its important work, donate or just ask questions. T-shirts will be available for a donation at John Harvard’s Restaurant, and you can purchase a pink silicone bracelet for a $2 donation all day at the Customer Service desk.
Whether you’re a snowboarder, skier or a supporter, you can help raise funds in a much bigger way by becoming an official fundraiser on your own. Visit Holiday Valley’s B4BC Active Giving page to register. Then click on “Become a Fundraiser” and follow the steps to create a customized campaign in your name. This will enable you to send a link to friends and family who will be able to donate online. The top three fundraisers will win special prizes contributed by The Boardroom.
Holiday Valley still has sponsorship opportunities available for the Board-a-Thon as well. Contact Kristen Sciara, Holiday Valley’s assistant director of marketing, at email@example.com or call (716) 699-3905 for a list of tax-deductible opportunities.