Beathard: Hiking for a good cause

Jill Beathard
Editor’s Note
Jill Beathard

Saturday was the Summit for Life race — yet another event for yet another Aspen nonprofit.

I was looking forward to it mostly for the endorphin rush of a hike in the moonlight with my friends. But when I started doing my fundraising, I began understanding the impact this was actually having.

I sent an email asking for donations to my entire extended family, and being the supportive relatives that they are, several responded. But as I talked to them about it, I realized many of them really believed in the cause. Some of my aunts are nurses and told me they believe very adamantly in organ donation. Another told me her brother received a kidney transplant after 13 years of being on dialysis.

As I hiked up the mountain Saturday night, I wondered what impact my friends’ and family’s money would have. When organizations talk about spreading “awareness” for an issue, as the Chris Klug Foundation often does, sometimes it seems a little vague to me. What impact do the dollars actually have?

I thought about when I decided to become an organ donor. I checked the “yes” box when I got my Colorado driver’s license — a decision I made because a few months earlier I had talked to one of the Chris Klug Donor Dudes at the base of Aspen Mountain. I wore their sticker on my ski helmet the rest of the season; I should practice what I preach, right?

At least with this cause, awareness became action when I signed up to be an organ donor. Of course, as my dad said, hopefully the need for a doctor to look for that on my driver’s license doesn’t arrive soon, but the fact that I signed up based on information this group gave me hopefully means that others have done the same.

As the holiday season ramps up, let’s remember some of our local charities and the good that they do. We seem to have a surplus of nonprofits here, but many of them are making a very real impact on our valley and in the larger world around us.

Jill Beathard is the editor of the Snowmass Sun. Contact her at