Frisco children’s event benefits Summit County Flight for Life
As a new addition to Frisco’s Family Fun Fair, tots will zoom around the town’s skate park in a bike race for a good cause. Registration for the balance bike circuit race starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, with a silent auction at the same time for the grown ups.
“Strider for Life,” named after the children’s balance bike, will donate all proceeds, tax-free, to Summit County’s Flight For Life organization. The fundraiser was pulled together just a month after the Frisco helicopter crash that took the life of pilot Patrick Mahany and severely injured flight nurses Dave Repsher and Matt Bowe.
“It was such a horrific accident, and it’s still so hard to come to terms with,” said Brittany Gilbert, the Breckenridge woman who created the idea for the fundraiser. “This will be a positive, joyful event that will bring light to such sadness. These little kids are so happy when they’re on these bikes.”
Gilbert was airlifted twice by Flight For Life crews; the first time, she was flown to Denver after a severe bike accident in 2012 caused swelling in her brain. Two weeks later, she woke up following surgery, and was told by her husband that she was pregnant and expecting a healthy baby.
Just nine months later, she was flown to Denver again while in labor, with two seizures caused by her previous injury and an emergency C-section.
“I have friends that they’ve saved, Gilbert said. “It’s part of our community and I believe in it so strongly, that they deserve to be honored.”
Gilbert teamed up with the town of Frisco, Lasergraphics and Mary Elaine Moore, owner of Stork and Bear Co., to put her idea into action. Moore covered the costs of the T-shirts for each registered child, and “bike plates” for the front of each Strider bike.
“She’s put in so much time for this it’s been incredible,” Gilbert said of Moore.
Several other Summit County businesses have offered to contribute to the silent auction. So far, more than 60 items have been donated and are up for bid; the group hopes to raise $5,000 for Flight For Life.
Some of the items for bid include gift cards to the Hearthstone Restaurant, Foote’s Rest Sweet Shop and Eatery, Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant, Craniology, Magical Scraps, Podium Sports and several others. The auction will also feature two tickets to the National Repertory Orchestra, and a package donated by Vail Resorts good for dinner for two at the Ranch with two rounds of golf. A gift certificate for two nights at the Sebastian is also up for bid, and a season pass for Arapahoe Basin Ski Area may be in the books.
“We’ve had so many folks in the community and businesses that have donated,” Moore said. “It’s been very heartwarming to see the outpouring of customers just picking up the phone.”
It’s not just golf packages — a few items for the kids are also up for bid. Three Strider Bikes, a Mr. Potato Head and tons of other toys will be available. The auction is open to anyone — not just race participants.
Registration for the race begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, leading up to the Family Fun Fair at the Frisco Adventure Park. The race will start at 11 a.m., with five heats for children ages 1 through 5. While the event is “bring your own bike,” the team has four extra balance bikes available for each heat.
For older children, the course will feature ramps, zigzags and other features, while toddlers will just do one loop around the course. Each child will receive a T-shirt and a bike plate with a helicopter on it that says “Strider for Life,” as well as one of Mary’s Mountain Cookies. First, second and third place winners will receive helmets, bike gloves and bike bells donated by Stork and Bear.
“The community’s come together and is really stepping up, which is what Summit County’s all about,” Gilbert said. “We’re just planning on making it this really fun, successful event that we can do over and over again for our heroes.”
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