A second chance | AspenTimes.com

A second chance

Dear Editor: Exactly 12 months ago, our son Stefan crossed the stage at the Aspen music tent to receive his high school diploma. Three days later, he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, Ewing’s sarcoma.All of his hopes and dreams for a college education and a bright future beyond were quite suddenly dashed. In order to save his life, he would need to undergo 12 months of extremely intensive chemotherapy, radiation and surgery. We were fortunate that Stefan received excellent medical care from the Childhood Hematology/Oncology team at PSL in Denver. They quite literally saved his life and limb.But the treatments were rough, resulting in numerous hospitalizations, weeks in the ICU and over 30 transfusions. Stefan’s indomitable spirit and determination in the face of adversity rarely wavered. But without the extraordinary outreach and support of so many special people in this community, our burden would have been much greater. Our thanks and heartfelt gratitude go to the Aspen Chapel, the Aspen Community Theater, Aspen Country Day School, the Snowmass Village fire and police departments, the Stammtisch regulars from the Wienerstube, Sunrise Carpet Cleaning, the Aspen Valley Angels, Fringe, New York Pizza, Paradise Bakery, our neighbors in Snowmass Village and Boogie and Bobbi Seelenfreund (for all those e-mails).Last, but certainly not least, we want to thank the students and faculty of Aspen High School. Their support of Stefan throughout the year was exceptional. Over and over again, they reached out to him with their generous spirit and refilled his cup. When the students unanimously chose Stefan, affectionately known as “Zed,” as their “cause” for the all-school ski day, it not only strengthened his will, it profoundly affected him. He gained a new sense of determination and decided that he would do all that he could to be present at the graduation of the class of 2005.This past Saturday, one day after his final radiation treatment, Stefan again stepped onto the stage at the music tent. The class of 2005 was not finished giving. Stefan was stunned as this remarkable group of young men and women presented him with a book fund for his college education. Stefan’s future looks much brighter than it did one year ago. The Zedlacher family is very grateful to live in such a generous community. Thank you, one and all!The Zedlacher FamilySnowmass Village