Kimmy Fasani, Chris Benchetler host cancer awareness event
Cancer isn’t easy to talk about. Whether you’ve survived it personally, gone through the battle with a loved one, or know someone who knows someone with cancer of any kind, it’s a tough road to travel. Sometimes it’s an even tougher disease to discuss because of the heartache and uncertainty attached to it.
But Mammoth local and professional snowboarder Kimmy Fasani and her husband, pro skier Chris Benchetler, are looking to create a community where people can feel comfortable sharing their stories about cancer while enjoying the positive vibe of an active lifestyle, and they’re starting with an event next weekend.
Fasani, known in the industry as the first woman rider to complete a double back flip both in the backcountry and in the park, is an ambassador for B4BC, or Boarding for Breast Cancer. B4BC is a non-profit foundation dedicated to providing education, prevention and support programs for young people and the action sports community at large. B4BC promotes early detection and a healthy, active lifestyle as the best means of breast cancer prevention.
For Fasani and Benchetler, the desire to help is personal. While not having been touched by breast cancer, both athletes lost their fathers to lung cancer, an experience that brought them together at the beginning of their relationship.
“Cancer is cancer,” Fasani told The Sheet this week of the reasons behind her support of B4BC. “We all have a six degrees of separation connection to it.”
Signing on as a rider for B4BC gave Fasani a platform to share her story.
“It allows me to speak my voice,” she said. “I’ve been aligning myself with companies that show who I am. You only have a short time to be a role model in this sport. It’s not about the money, it’s about awareness and making an impact.”
Husband Chris is just as supportive of the endeavor, but seeing as how B4BC is a non-profit for breast cancer awareness, Fasani, as a woman, was the better choice for ambassador. The couple does, however, hope to someday start their own foundation that raises money for kids whose parents are battling cancer and might not be able to afford to send them out on the hill to ski or ride anymore.
For Fasani, raising cancer awareness has become even more important in the last few years. Her mother, Judy Fasani, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Follicular Lymphoma, a cancer of the blood that is currently deemed incurable, just months before Kimmy’s marriage to Chris in 2011.
Still living with and battling the disease today, Judy will be in attendance next weekend as Kimmy and Chris host the last leg of the Shred the Love Tour, B4BC’s premier winter event. This fundraiser not only benefits B4BC’s Survivorship Fund, but proceeds from next weekend’s event will also go to Mammoth Hospital’s cancer outreach programs.
The weekend kicks off with “It’s Personal,” an intimate dinner and fundraising benefit with Kimmy and Chris held Friday evening, May 3.
Dinner is from 6-8 p.m. at the Underground Lounge with a maximum seating of 45 people. Tickets are $100 each. It will be an intimate evening where stories will be shared, including that of Mammoth’s own Danielle Bauman (formally Eastman) who has been battling breast cancer.
Following dinner the event opens to the public from 8-10 p.m. for a silent auction.
On Saturday, May 4, it’s time to get out and get active. Beginning at 9 a.m. head to the Village at Mammoth for an hour-long yoga session ($10 donation requested). Then head up to Mammoth Mountain for a Lap-a-Thon and/or some runs on the public racecourse, which will be set up especially for the event.
“The Lap-a-Thon begins at 11 a.m. and will lap Chair 1 for two hours,” Fasani explained. Similar to a jog-a-thon, the Lap-a-Thon is based on pledges for how many laps a participant can make in the two-hour time period. A $50 minimum is required.
The racecourse will be open from 10 a.m. to noon and a $10 donation is requested. Prizes for the most laps and the top fundraiser at the Lap-a-Thon will be awarded, as well as a prize for the fastest time on the racecourse. The awards as well as a raffle will be presented from 1-2 p.m. on the back patio of the team headquarters building at Main Lodge, the main meeting area for the event.
Through all of her experiences with cancer, snowboarding has kept Fasani grounded and given her a release for some of her pain. She understands first hand the benefits of staying healthy and active during hard times, which is why next weekend’s event is near to her heart.
“Snowboarding was my outlet when my dad died,” Fasani expressed. “It’s important to find happiness in times of struggle.”
To learn more about next weekend’s event or to purchase tickets for Friday night’s dinner, visit www.stayclassy.org/b4bckimmyfasani.
Advanced registration for the Lap-a-Thon is required. Visit www.stayclassy.org/ShredtheLove to sign up by starting to fundraise or donate.
Lift tickets are required for on-hill activities, but will be offered at discounted prices for those participating in the event. Adults $59, Teen $44, and Child $21.