Pink Vail – Survive and Thrive

Mar. 20, 2017

Survive and Thrive

Pink Vail Supports Shaw Regional Cancer Center’s Spirit of Survival Program

March 25th, 2017. 

By Kim Fuller

Two decades ago, Vail Valley singer-songwriter, Pat Hamilton, lost a friend to breast cancer. Hamilton wrote a song about it, called “Waves of Sorrow,” focusing on the support group of women that surrounded, supported and took care of their friend in need.

Just last year, Hamilton was diagnosed with breast cancer herself. She had a lumpectomy, followed by radiation five days a week for a month.

After watching her friend die of breast cancer, and then finding herself fighting a battle herself, Hamilton says her treatment and recovery process at Shaw Regional Cancer Center and its Spirit of Survival program felt like being “wrapped up in a blanket of care.” The care she had once helped provide for a friend was now what she needed and was able to receive at Shaw.

It’s Pink Vail—the fun-filled fundraising event held on Vail Mountain every year—that makes this support possible.

“And now you have not just your circle of friends who are there for you, but you have this whole circle of experiences and support from the money that Pink Vail raises,” shares Hamilton.

Whole Healing

Spirit of Survival is a comprehensive wellness program at Shaw that addresses each patient’s individual physical and emotional well-being, the impact of cancer on day-to-day life, as well as long-term health goals. The program incorporates fitness, nutrition and physical therapy, as well as a variety of support and wellness services, to empower all survivors to thrive during and after treatment.

Hamilton says her breast cancer diagnosis made her feel like a “deer caught in the headlights,” and that Spirit of Survival gave her the care and compassion she needed to get through it.

Each patient at Shaw meets with a team of doctors and staff members to develop an individualized program. The focus for Hamilton has been on exercise and diet — both vital components in the continuing treatment to prevent her cancer’s reoccurrence.

She worked with oncology exercise physiologists and an oncology nutritionist and was able to take advantage of gentle yoga, reiki, massage and Pilates offered at Jack’s Place, the cancer caring lodge located on-site at Shaw.

Pink Vail is what makes this process of healing accessible to those who really need it.

“It’s just an incredibly all-around supportive program, for your emotional, physical and mental well-being,” says Hamilton. “I don’t think most people know what Pink Vail does and how it covers the cost of all these programs. Until you get cancer, or one or your friends gets cancer, you don’t realize what an incredible event Pink Vail truly is.”

Pink Vail is a reflection of the generous support offered by the community and its family and friends around the world.

Pink Vail is on March 25, 2017. For more information and to participate, visit