WAPIYAPI is a Colorado organization that offers help and support to families facing childhood cancer. Since 1998 Wapiyapi has provided no cost programs to kids with cancer and their families. Wapiyapi is a Lakota Sioux word which means help and healing. Founded by University of Colorado Medical Students, Wapiyapi and more than 300 volunteers have provided year-round support to more than 1500 kids.
Click 4 pix: Wapyapi Classic
The 2011 Wapiyapi Classic, a fundraiser and a bicycle ride recently took place in Aspen with a special guest leading the pack, 7-time Tour-de-France winner Lance Armstrong. With 50 mile and 25 mile options and a picture perfect Fall day, the Wapiyapi Classic was a rousing success as more than 200 riders partook in the awesomeness. The 20 top Wapiyapi fundraisers got to start their ride with Lance, although he eventually pulled away from the peloton to finish his 50 mile segment well ahead of anyone else.
Aspen Spin got to meet some of the Wapiyapi kids and their families. It was obvious that a week at Wapiyapi Summer Camp was the highlight of the year for most of the kids. We kept hearing how good it felt to be a "normal kid" and to participate in a wide variety of activities "just like the other kids". If you've ever attended summer camp then you know about the camaraderie that develops between the campers. Recurring themes kept popping up...color war, talent show, arts and crafts and clearly the most important memory for most of the kids...the zip line. These kids spend a lot of time in hospital, so to get outside for a week of fun and activities with kids "just like me" is extrememly meaningful and a tremendous aid in healing.
Healing occurs in a variety of ways, not just with doctors and medicine. At Wapiyapi, building friendships, gaining new experiences, bonding with others all contribute to the process. Riding bikes with Lance Armstrong is part of the program too.
Click WAPIYAPI to learn more and to support their programs.
Click: Wapiyapi Classic for more photos.