AHS students raise $5,000 for cancer fight | AspenTimes.com

AHS students raise $5,000 for cancer fight

Eben Harrell
Stefan "Zed" Zedlacher, a 2004 graduate of Aspen High who is battling cancer, is the focus of a school fund-raising effort.

Aspen High School’s campus will be empty today and nearby slopes crowded with kids – but don’t be alarmed, the mass truancy is all for a good cause.Each year the high school offers the student body a weekday off to ski, with one crucial catch – to earn the day off, students must choose a worthy cause and rally a certain amount of support for it.

This year, the students launched a fund-raising drive for Stefan “Zed” Zedlacher, a 2004 graduate of Aspen High who has struggled all year against Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. “The school agreed that if 85 percent of the student body gave money for Zed, they could take the day to ski. We actually had a 92 percent participation rate, the highest ever,” high school teacher Sarah Benson said.When Zedlacher was diagnosed last year, he was given an 18 percent chance of survival. Although not cured, he’s now 93 percent cancer-free, having spent the last year undergoing intense treatments and operations.

In the fall, students set up donation points at the school cafeteria. Minimum donation was $10, except for students receiving free or reduced lunch. So far, the students have raised $5,000 to go toward Zedlacher’s medical bills.”He’s been through a lot in the last year but he’s an incredibly optimistic, upbeat person and I think that’s why he’s done so well this year. It’s been great to have the high school’s support,” Stefan’s mother, Susan Zedlacher, said yesterday in a telephone message.

To celebrate the achievement, students will spend today skiing Aspen Highlands ski area. The Aspen Skiing Co. has donated day tickets to students without passes and Pro Mountain Sports has offered discounted rentals. After a day on the slopes, the students will meet back at the high school for a barbecue lunch organized by the student senate. A $10 lunch fee will also go to the Zedlacher fund.Through March, the high school will move its fund-raising efforts to the public. A donation box will be placed in Paradise Bakery in Aspen. And private donations can also be sent by mail to Sarah Benson c/o Aspen High School, 0235 High School Road Aspen, CO 81611.Eben Harrell’s e-mail address is eharrell@aspentimes.com

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