Hike MS Colorado fundraiser comes to Keystone Resort July 25 | SummitDaily.com
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Hike MS Colorado fundraiser comes to Keystone Resort July 25

Front Range resident and multiple sclerosis patient Julie Brubaker with her children, Abby and Jonathan, at the 2014 Hike MS Colorado fundraiser at Keystone. This year, the Brubakers bring a team of 25 family and friends to the event after raising nearly $20,000 for the National MS Society.
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Hike MS Colorado 2015

What: An annual hiking event with 2, 6 and 12-mile routes to raise funds for the Colorado-Wyoming branch of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

When: Saturday, July 25 at 8 a.m.

Where: River Run Village in Keystone (parking in Montezuma Lot)

Cost: $60 for adults, $25 for kids (ages 5-12)

All hikers must raise a minimum of $50 in addition to the event fees. Child participants must raise $25. Fees include continental breakfast, lunch and an event T-shirt. Online registration is open until midnight on July 22. Walk-up registration is available from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on July 24 and 7 a.m. on July 25 at Gondola Plaza in River Run Village. For more info on the Keystone hike and other MS Society events, see http://www.hikeMScolorado.org.

When Julie Brubaker lost her hearing in 1996, she thought it was a nasty sinus infection.

At the time, the Colorado native was 25 years old and living in Washington, D.C. Doctors treated her for an infection, but when her hearing didn’t improve over the course of several months, they were dumbfounded. Following an MRI and spinal tap, the doctors came back with devastating and unexpected news: Brubaker had multiple sclerosis.

She returned to Colorado in 2000 to be closer to her family. She was stunned by the diagnoses — no one else in her family has MS — but it hardly slowed her down. Now 39 years old, she’s been involved in dozens of events through the regional chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, from fundraising luncheons in Denver to group bike rides in Wyoming and Fort Collins.

She has always been an athletic type, but she rarely made it onto mountain trails. So when the MS Society launched an annual hiking series in Summit County several years ago, she couldn’t say no.

“I wasn’t a cyclist when I started with Bike MS, and I haven’t really been an active hiker, so I do it more for the cause than because I’m an intense hiker,” she said. “It’s more about getting out there for the cause.”

On July 25, she and 25 teammates from across the U.S arrive in Summit for the second edition of the MS Hike at Keystone. Dubbed Team CUREageous Stampede, she and a core group of friends, family members and avid supporters have made the hike a tradition, raising a combined $20,000 this year alone.

They come from as far as Ohio and New Jersey to join roughly 4,000 supporters, all in the name of building support for an estimated 100,000 people affected by MS in Colorado and Wyoming.

“I just can’t say enough good things about these events,” said Brubaker, who lives on the Front Range and makes an annual summertime trip to Keystone just for the hiking event. “They have options to fit any and every skill level. My niece is 10 and my dad is 75, so there’s something for everyone.”

More than a hike

The MS Hike event was held at Copper Mountain until last year, when organizers decided on a change of scenery and moved to Keystone. This year’s event features three distances: 2 miles, 6 miles and 12 miles. All three cover different routes, including a relaxed walk along a paved bike path for the 2-milers.

Like many local fundraisers, the event is open to anyone and everyone, with on-site registration available before the hiking begins at 8 a.m. on July 25. Adult participants are required to raise at least $50 along with registration fees. Along with the hike, fees also include breakfast, lunch, an event T-shirt and on-trail aid stations.

Funds from the MS Hike and other events support research, outreach programs and community education across Colorado and Wyoming.

“MS is a disease that strikes the central nervous system and disrupts the flow of information from the brain to the body, impacting mobility,” Colorado-Wyoming MS Society chapter president Carrie Nolan said. “Every mile hiked at Hike MS Keystone supports the promising research that is providing more therapies for people living with MS today and helps move us closer to ending MS forever.”

Brubaker and the majority of her team had never hiked at Keystone until the first event in 2014, and, along with new trails, they encounter new supporters at each event.

“It’s very overwhelming to see the amount of people who come out to join a cause,” said Brubaker, who said the hike is a perfect place for her family to meet other family members affected by MS. “They say one person can’t make a difference, but you really can. When you join with a group of other people who can relate to you experience, it’s an incredible support system.”

Of course, it’s rarely difficult for Brubaker to lure her family to Colorado. Along with hiking, her parents, children, uncles and aunts enjoy everything that comes with an event in the mountains: tents, campfires and plenty of family time in the outdoors.

“They all love Colorado, and they’ve been such a tremendous support to me with MS,” Brubaker said. “They are so great about traveling with me for these events, and Colorado just becomes an added bonus. A few of my family members will camp this weekend, out by Lake Dillon. You can’t skip that those things when you come to Colorado.”


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