Moozie helps kids with cancer escape |

Moozie helps kids with cancer escape

Summit Daily/Kimberly NicolettiFrom left, 7-year-old Lia Lonergan and 4-year-old Jessa Salvador listen to Breckenridge resident Ted Dreier and Moozie the cow talk about kindness.

BRECKENRIDGE – One of Breckenridge resident Ted Dreier’s snippets of wisdom he gained from living on a farm is, “Uptight cows shut off their milk. Uptight people shut off their hearts.”But it would be hard for anyone to shut off his or her heart watching almost 17 children – half of whom had lost their hair because of chemotherapy – sit attentively while Dreier and Moozie the cow talked to them about kindness Friday at the Carter Park pavilion in Breckenridge.The gathering was part of a 13th annual Robby’s Friends weekend escape to Breckenridge for families who have a child with cancer. The volunteer organization helps children with cancer and their families enjoy life.

“It’s a break from the clinics and the treatments in an informal environment,” said Vicky Sternicki, president of Robby’s Friends, an organization Robby Ferrufino’s parents started in 1990 after doctors diagnosed him with a rare form of stomach cancer. “Families don’t even realize they needed a break – how intense and stressed and focused they’ve been on treatment. They probably wouldn’t pursue these kind of activities (in Breckenridge) on their own. It gives them a respite in an environment where they can socialize with other kids and families going through the same thing.”The retreat began last Thursday with a pizza and pool party at Beaver Run Resort, where owners donate rooms for families. Friday night the Red, White and Blue Fire Department sponsored a barbecue, Saturday families went to Copper’s CycleFest and enjoyed kids’ night out and today they can ride the alpine slide for free. Throughout the weekend, restaurants such as Hearthstone Catering and Blue River Bistro donated food.Laura Acker, mother of 5-year-old Miranda Acker who was diagnosed with leukemia in February, enjoyed Moozie the cow because she loves the animals.

“After we’ve gone through so many weeks of treatment, it’s time to have a little fun,” Acker said.”We didn’t get much of a summer vacation,” her husband, David Acker, added.Moozie, a life-sized, robotic cow with a moving head, tail and eyes, talked about kindness for about 30 minutes. Dreier created the cow in 1990, and since then, he has sent seven other Moozies to locations throughout the nation. Last year his cows presented kindness talks to 30,000 children, he said.

“I hope they have the feeling that they’re very special,” Dreier said about Moozie’s visit with Robby’s Friends.”It’s something cute that kids don’t learn enough of from the kindness aspect in this day and age,” Sternicki said. “The television and media show so many other things. (Moozie) is real down-to-earth and simple for kids because kids are simple.”Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 245, or at

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