Schweitzer ski day benefits cancer center
On Friday, Schweitzer Mountain Resort will host the fourth-annual Day for Heather, offering $10 lift tickets all day for all ages and a chance to ski what Powder Magazine calls the best park in the Pacific Northwest.
The event is named in memory of Heather Gibson, a member of the Sandpoint community who did much to change the face of cancer in North Idaho before she died from the disease in August 2006.
“I knew Heather as a mother and a friend,” said Sandpoint resident Steve Meyer. “She loved skiing and made some of her best friends up at Schweitzer. I feel fortunate that I had more than a few opportunities to take out a fresh powder field with Heather, Greg (Heather’s husband) and her buddies.”
Because Heather’s husband was a member of the ski patrol, those who worked at Schweitzer and those who skied with Heather went through Heather’s eight-year cancer journey with her. It is because of their desire to carry on her mission to support cancer patients in this North Idaho community that Schweitzer Mountain has continually offered all the proceeds from a Day for Heather to Community Cancer Services. That cancer resource and information center was founded by Gibson and has served Bonner and Boundary counties since 2003. Prior to Gibson’s death, the board of directors designated Community Cancer Services as Heather’s House.
“This gift that Schweitzer gives each year to the cancer patients in this community amazes me,” said Stefanie Nostdahl, board president for Community Cancer Services. “We have literally hundreds of clients who are coming to us for help. When cancer hits, it comes with a lot of other issues and because of Schweitzer and other donors we are able to help at a very difficult time in people’s lives.”
Since opening, Community Cancer Services has grown quickly and now offers support groups for men, women, caregivers and children in addition to financial assistance to help defray the cost of transportation, medical bills, prescriptions and utility payments.
There also are resources such as a lending library, wigs and hats for people who lose their hair from treatments, and the Look Good Feel Better Program, which is run in conjunction with the American Cancer Society. A part-time social worker is on staff to assist with the emotional needs of the clients and their families.
Because all services are offered free to the clients, support from the community is essential.
To kick off the Day for Heather, Steve Meyer and his wife Julie are hosting a Sip ’n Shop at their Pend d’Oreille Winery on Thursday. That evening, Pend d’Oreille Winery will donate a portion of its profits to Community Cancer Services.
“We hope our event turns out to be a place where people can come together to learn about CCS, Heather’s House and to raise a glass in celebration of Heather’s life,” said Meyer, who added that Heather used to stop by the winery frequently on her way home just to check in with her friends. “Her visits always brought a ray of light and hope into the winery tasting room, and I will always remember those moments with love and gratitude.”