Cancer survivor’s Colorado tour benefits First Descents |

Cancer survivor’s Colorado tour benefits First Descents

Special to the Daily Cancer survivor April Capil was recently through Summit County in her 2012 Ford Focus.

When Fort Collins resident April Capil received an email from First Descents – a Colorado-based organization that aims to cure young adults of cancer’s emotional effects through outdoor adventure – asking her to help them win $10,000 through a Ford Motor Company contest, she couldn’t say no.

“I’m a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at 34,” she said. “I went on a trip with First Descents, and it changed my life. I feel like it gave me back the confidence that cancer took away.”

Capil – who already had a YouTube channel giving makeup tips to chemotherapy patients – submitted a video to The Focus Global Test Drive contest explaining why she and her favorite charity should win. She talked about her First Descents trip a year after her cancer diagnosis: a rock climbing trip to Moab. She also told the company she was in the market for a new car, since she had just totaled her Ford Escape on a cross-country trip.

“I think I made them laugh,” she said.

She was one of 20 American winners, and received a four-day trip to Madrid to test drive the 2012 Ford Focus; a $10,000 check for First Descents; and a six-week lease on the new Focus to help promote the organization.

“$10,000 would do a lot for First Descents,” she said. “It would pay for almost half a camp”

She went to Spain, test-drove the car with professional race car drivers, and then came back to the states to start her Ford Focus tour. Having only recently moved to the state, Capil decided to take the car on a tour of Colorado “firsts”: Pikes Peak, Garden of the Gods, Vail, the Royal Gorge Bridge and Park, the Continental Divide, and the Colorado National Monument.

“I thought we’d take advantage of our state’s natural scenery,” she said. “You can see the great outdoors without four-wheel drive.”

During her six-week campaign to promote First Descents and the Focus, Capil has to make three more videos: one about her Madrid trip, one about how her charity is using the money, and one about her experience driving the car. She said the Focus – the only 2012 in Colorado – has performed well so far. She also said she’s been happy to help the organization

“When you’re a young adult and the world is your oyster, getting cancer really rocks your world. It shakes your foundations, and you don’t feel as invincible,” she said. “But when you’re hanging off a 100-foot arch in Arches National Park, it’s hard to not feel confident again, to feel brave again, to have courage again.

“That’s why First Descents works,” she continued. “It teaches you to drive with the fear. You walk away from it not being crippled by the fear of being vulnerable.”

Capil’s campaign ends April 15. To view her videos, go to For more information about First Descents, visit

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