Breckenridge group raises funds for ailing Team Summit member
Being sweet can still go a long way.
That was the idea of a small group who set up a donation-based bake sale of goodies at Blue River Plaza in Breckenridge on Wednesday afternoon. The handful of children and their mothers did so in the hopes of raising not just money, but also awareness, in tribute to their ailing buddy back in Denver.
Quade Marks, 9, who friends know as “Q,” was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, in mid-April and is suddenly in need of a bone morrow transplant. The severe cancer, mostly impacting adults, affects the blood cells within the marrow, and so far he doesn’t have the necessary match.
“It’s a tough diagnosis,” said his mother Michelle, by phone from the hospital. “For an active, 9-year-old kid, it’s is a hard place to spend the summer.”
The Marks, who live in Stapleton in Denver, but have been part-time residents of Breckenridge at the Villas at Swans Nest since 2012, are frequenters of the area. After years as a member of the Breckenridge Bombers ski school at the resort with his 10-year-old sister Lainey, Quade competed as a snowboarder for the first time this past season with Team Summit Colorado ski club, even placing in big mountain, halfpipe and giant slalom events. His illness, though, has forced the family to hunker down at Rocky Mountain Hospital for Children in Denver.
“We spend quite a few weeks up there,” said Michelle, “we miss it. We were always in the Fourth of July parade for the rec center float, so he’s bummed he won’t be there, but we’ll try and do something down here. There’s good views of all the fireworks from one of the towers at the hospital.
“The minute he gets out of the hospital we’re going up to Breck,” she added. “We love the pool there at Grand Lodge (on Peak 7), so he’s been asking if he can go down the slide when he gets out.”
In the meantime, some of his friends, up from the metro area to attend the Breckenridge Mountain Summer Camp through the Breck Rec Center, took the camp’s midweek day off to hock Rice Krispies Treats, sugar cookies, brownies and bottles of water to passers-by. After receiving the necessary permit and permissions from the town of Breckenridge to plant a table, the cluster of elementary-aged kids stayed up late the night before making signs, treats, as well as a mess of the kitchen at the host household in Breckenridge.
“It was for a good cause,” joked Erin Yokomichi, mother of sisters Eliana, 11, and Giselle, 9, and longtime family friend of the Marks. “It’s really touching to watch our kids learn about a child who has a disease, who’s honestly fighting for his life, and want to do something for him. They all just want to help. And the love just kind of spreads.”
“What we love is it was totally grassroots and their idea,” said part-time Breckenridge resident Stephanie Fisher, owner of the kitchen and mother of sisters Talia, 12, and Nadia, 10. “Monday I went to pick them up (from camp) and they said, ‘We want to do a bake sale for Quade!’”
The group spent three hours at the Main Street Breckenridge location on Wednesday before afternoon rain pushed them inside. But not before informing any number of visitors and residents out for a stroll to register for the bone marrow donor registry in addition to collecting $400 toward what is an estimated cost of $700,000 for Quade’s eventual operation. Every dollar helps, as does helping to locate a potential transplant match.
Quade will need a total of three rounds of chemotherapy and is currently wrapping up his second. From there, he’ll be prepping for the marrow transfer, but for now, such collective support — including another event held last week in Denver — remains a source of strength for him and his family.
“His doctors say the mental game or staying positive is just as important as what they’re doing with the chemo and eventually the transplant,” said his mother Michelle. “And it really is the community that is helping to keep his spirits high. Friends, colleagues, complete strangers — it’s just amazing the outpouring of support.”
To make a donation to the Marks family, visit Quade’s page at: http://www.quade8.com, or you can do so through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Those interested can also register for the National Marrow Donor Registry by visiting: join.bethematch.org.
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