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Press Releases

Campers with Cancer Inspire Waves of Generosity at 5th Annual First De

The non-profit's major fundraiser harnesses $320,000 for therapeutic outdoor adventures

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Participants in First Descents’ outdoor adventure programs commonly testify that they can be stronger than the cancer infecting their bodies. Such triumphs over disease in turn inspire the kind of generosity that was on display April 2nd at the Annual First Descents Ball.

Colorado-based First Descents, a young adult cancer non-profit organization, is pleased to announce its largest one-day fundraising success to date. For the first year ever, the First Descents event sold out more than a week in advance. 420 people attended the FB Ball, raising more than $320,000.More than 40 campers from around the country attended.

“The First Descents Ball has always been more than a fundraising event,” said Ludden. “It’s an evening to come together to celebrate the human spirit and strength in the face of adversity. It’s a chance to inspire or be inspired. It’s a chance to honor friends who couldn’t be there. It’s a chance to let loose, laugh and dance until you can’t stand up!”

First Descents brought in $100,000 worth of silent auction items and $90,000 worth of live auction items donated by businesses, community members and supporters. A Colorado artist, Mike Potts, painted throughout the event, with his art featured as an auction item.

“The success of the ball is such a testament to where First Descents has come and we couldn’t have done it without the support of the community, the incredible event committee, and the 50 volunteers who came to help,” said event chair Angela Rossi.

Other highlights of the night included Team FD athlete and celebrity Ryan Sutter’s acceptance speech for winning the Golden Paddle Award, and a speech by Neil “Tailz” Taylor, First Descents’ first blind camper, for winning the Spirit Award. April Capil, a First Descents camper and honored speaker at the event, presented FD Founder and CEO, Brad Ludden with the Ford Focus Global Initiative contest check for $10,000.The band Funkiphino rocked the house and kept the dance floor full throughout the evening.

“None of it would be possible without the help, support, donations, time and energy of all the people who come together to make it so amazing — a huge thanks to all of you,” Ludden said.

First Descents is a non-profit organization offering young adults with cancer a free week-long outdoor adventure experience designed to enable them to climb, paddle and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others doing the