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The Longevity Project

Presented by the Summit Daily News, The Summit Foundation, and Breckenridge Grand Vacations

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The Longevity Project is a weekslong reporting project by the Summit Daily News to educate our readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in the High Country.

The Series

This year’s project is focused on the topic of cancer. The reporting series will touch on cancer prevalence, advancements in medicine, mental health impacts, access to care and more. The series will publish the first four Fridays of September.

Peaks, valleys of High Country cancer: Doctors say a mountain lifestyle has its benefits, but living at elevation also comes with risks and challenges. 


Cancer at elevation: How does living at high elevations impact someone’s chances of developing cancer? Summit County experts weigh in

Joel Wexler has made quite a few friends during his five years as a full-time Keystone resident, but it’s his black Labrador retriever, Gussie, of whom he’s most fond.

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Preventing poor outcomes: Early cancer detection is vital, doctors say, but barriers — both financial and mental — often get in the way

“I was honestly terrified,” Kathy said as she reflected on her emotions as she prepared to get her first screening. “I was absolutely terrified.” The anxiety nearly stopped her from getting the scan, but despite the emotions she felt as she headed into the exam, she took the assistant’s advice.

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Lessen the stress: A comprehensive, holistic approach to care helps improve cancer outcomes, doctors say

Despite doctors telling the Bornsteins that his case is incurable and terminal, they go about their lives living in the present moment, not ruminating on the past or what is yet to come. They take each day fresh, and they enjoy each moment they share.

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Access to Care: Though Summit County’s oncology services have evolved over the years, barriers and limitations remain

When Joel Wexler learned he would have to travel to Edwards to receive his radiation therapy treatments, he was just relieved that the drive would be made in the fall and not on icy winter roads.

Read more

Share Your Story

We know cancer touches every part of a community, so in conjunction with The Longevity Project, we asked readers to share their stories of survival or loss related to a cancer diagnosis.

The Event

The Longevity Project will conclude with a Sept. 29 event at 10 Mile Music Hall in Frisco. The Summit Daily will host keynote speaker Scott Lindgren, an expedition kayaker who is battling a brain tumor.

The night will be capped with a film screening of “The River Runner,” which chronicles Lindgren’s journey. After completing a successful descent of the Indus River in the Himalayas in 2017, Lindgren achieved an audacious goal two-decades in the making: becoming the only person to kayak the four great rivers of Tibet’s holy Mount Kailash.

In addition to his adventures, his talk will focus on his experience being diagnosed with a brain tumor, including the physical and mental health impacts, in addition to his work supporting youths who are fighting cancer.

Tickets are $25 and include a glass of wine, a beer or a soda. Appetizers will be served.

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Speaker: Scott Lindren

Location: The 10 Mile Music Hall in Frisco.

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The river runner: How expedition kayaker Scott Lindgren balances a brain tumor, his mental health and tackling tough waters

Though the world-class kayaker is no stranger to being in front of and behind the camera, having produced numerous kayaking films and winning an Emmy for cinematography, this time he wanted to make a broader film about the history of the sport.

Read more

The Paradise Paradox: How Colorado’s High Country is responding to a staggering increase in demand for mental health care in the wake of the pandemic.

Aug. 27 | A cry for help

Hardships of mountain living contribute to above average suicide rate

Sept. 3 | Party town

How an alcohol-centered culture is impacting the community’s mental health

Sept. 10 | Crime or crises?

Police see early success with measured response to mental health emergencies

Sept. 17 | Finding help

Mental health services struggle to meet growing demand in rural Colorado


We’re asking readers to tell their own stories of mental health struggles in an effort to continue to destigmatize the serious health issue.

tell us your story


Save the Date | Sept. 21, 2021 | 6:00 p.m.

The Summit Daily News will host the event virtually instead of in person. The event will be free of charge. Those who already purchased tickets can request a refund or donate the purchase price to help offset the cost of the event.

Register Here

Zoom link will be emailed to those who register

The Longevity Project will be a virtual event on Sept. 21. The Summit Daily will host a panel discussion of local experts followed by speaker Kevin Hines’ keynote address. Kevin is an award-winning global speaker, best-selling author, documentary filmmaker, and suicide prevention and mental health advocate who has reached millions with his story of an unlikely survival and his strong will to live.



A cry for help: Hardships of mountain living contribute to above average suicide rate

Summit County is an escape for many people, and for good reason. Nestled between the Gore and Tenmile ranges in the heart of the Rocky Mountains, its world-class ski resorts, myriad recreation activities and impeccable scenery make it one of the most visited counties in the state.

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Party town: How an alcohol-centered culture is impacting the community’s mental health

Jordan Cain was a teenager when he began drinking. It started innocuous enough for the Longmont native, as is the case with many young people experimenting with alcohol in their high school years. But things didn’t stay that way.

Read more

Crime or crises? Police see early success with measured response to mental health emergencies

It can be easy to have a poor perception of law enforcement. Every day, police officers are tasked with responding to complicated calls related to individuals in the midst of mental health crises, and community members are inundated with horror stories in the news and on social media of those interactions going wrong.

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Finding Help: Mental health services struggle to meet growing demand in rural Colorado

The first time Anna Vaine was diagnosed with a mental health condition, she was 8 years old. The Summit High School graduate learned she had generalized anxiety disorder. Since then, the now 19-year-old has been diagnosed with chronic depression, social anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

Read more

Survivor calls suicide attempt ‘the greatest mistake of my life’

“I jumped.” “It was the single worst action of my entire life,” Kevin Hines said. “The millisecond my hands left the rail, I had an instantaneous regret for my actions. It’s 100% recognition that I had just made the greatest mistake of my life, and it was too late.”

Read more

Pandemic lessons learned: Longevity Project event speakers talk about mental health

The Longevity Project is an annual series hosted by the Summit Daily News that focuses on how to live a longer, happier, healthier life. For four years running, the project has covered a health topic and is capped with a paneled event and keynote speaker.

Read more

Read more about longevity at altitude

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