We're Thankful For... kids who help other kids!

We're changing things up a bit this week for our Friday Thanksgiving Feature and expressing our gratitude for the amazing student volunteer community that we at Shining Stars Foundation like to call, "Kids Helping Kids." 

Students from schools in Pitkin County, Grand County, and a number of schools in the Denver Metro area have participated in the program over the last year. Kids offer volunteer support for programs or organize fundraisers to raise money for Shining Stars events and programs.

Just this past week in Aspen, Colorado, our friends at Aspen Middle School put on a two-night Poetry Soiree extravaganza! Students spent countless hours writing or memorizing poems from their favorite authors. All of this hard work culminated at the Soiree, held at Aspen's Limelight Hotel, where students recited their poems in front of family and friends.

Attendees were encouraged to donate to Shining Stars, with the hopes of raising enough funds to sponsor a Shining Star at the 2016 Aspen Winter Games. It was inspiring to see all of the hard work these students had put in on their own time to support other children with cancer and other life-threatening illnesses! A big thank you to teachers Hallie Harrison and Bill Boyd for inspiring their students to take this on. 

Shining Stars Director of Outreach Cookie Ready visits many of these schools annually to present on the importance of volunteering. Cookie also stresses the importance of acceptance and compassion when a friend or peer is challenged with cancer or another life-threatening illness. When asked why she felt the Kids Helping Kids program was so important, Cookie's answer was two-fold.

"First, for the students, it helps to instill an appreciation of diversity and a love of volunteering at an early age. They learn how good it feels to give back, and how some kids don't have it as easy as others," Cookie explained.

"Second, when students volunteer with the kids that we serve, they develop lasting friendships. The Shining Stars are treated like normal kids or teenagers, a luxury that is not always afforded to them by their peers at home."

We are so incredibly grateful to have such a caring and compassionate student community in the areas we work. These kids give so selflessly of themselves with hopes of making the lives of our Shining Stars kids just that much better.

Thanks to our student volunteers, no one of our Shining Stars has to fight cancer alone, without the support of their peers. 

Click here to do your part in making sure that no child or family challeged with cancer or life-threatening illness has to fight their battle alone. 


To Old Friends and New- Bites & Bottles 2014

Last Monday, Shining Stars was honored to be the beneficiaries of the 2014 Bites & Bottles fundraiser, presented by the Greater Denver chapter of the National Association of Caterers and Event Planners. The event was hosted at The Infinite Monkey Theorem in Denver and featured delicious food and drink from Denver’s best caterers. The evening was led by our new friend, Master of Ceremonies and former Denver Bronco Reggie Rivers. A great time was had by all! A portion of the proceeds from the evening will be donated to Shining Stars, where 95 cents of every dollars goes DIRECTLY to fund our children’s programs. It's always fun to have a good time for a great cause!


The silent and live auctions were managed by Auctions By Cellular, ABC, a mobile bidding and silent auction technology firm. We were thrilled to see a familiar face among the red shirts with ABC- former Shining Star Brittney, who attended Winter Games in 2001! Brittney works as an ABC Pro while going to nursing school, where she hopes to graduate and become a pediatric oncology nurse.  Prior to seeing the Shining Stars crew at the winery, she had no idea who the fundraiser was for. It was truly magical to see Brittney thriving in life so many years after she was a Shining Star in Aspen. Brittney was honored to be a part of the event and even got up to speak during the live auction paddle raiser. She spoke about how important Shining Stars was for her throughout her cancer treatment, and how her experience at Winter Games truly gave her hope for life once again.


Brittney’s success story touched everyone present and reminded us once again why we do what we do. So that kids like Brittney who are forced to look life-threatening illnesses in the face do not have to do so alone. So that these kids can find their inner strength and conquer whatever life throws their way. So that they can continue to live and thrive with passion, just as Brittney has. 

We had a great time reconnecting with old friends and making new ones at this fabulous event. Thanks again to NACE for having us and helping us raise money to bring HOPE to children who truly need it.

★ Intergalactic Miracles ★

This past Saturday, September 20th, the 7th annual Miracle Party for Childhood Cancer was held at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Castle Rock. The evening is meant to give pediatric cancer patients and their families a night off from the hospital and the worries of daily life to let loose and have some fun! This year, the theme of the evening was Space! The Infinite Frontier. Shining Stars once again sponsored the event and set up our booth to spread the word about  programs available to pediatric cancer patients and their families. Staff members Cookie Ready and Rosemary White represented the Foundation in style- can you guess their costumes? 

Anakin Skywalker and Queen Amidala!

Anakin Skywalker and Queen Amidala!

The Miracle Party featured musical guests Beyond 5 and Lexi Walker, delicious BBQ from Famous Dave's and so much more. We were so excited to see so many of our Shining Stars Families taking the night off to enjoy the party and each other. It was also exciting to meet new families and children to join us this year at Winter Games! Thank you to the Miracle Party Foundation for making this magical night possible. 


Harvesting Goodness!

We had a wonderful day at the Miller Farms Fall Festival on Sunday enjoying the sunshine, catching up with old friends, and picking yummy vegetables! This year we had a record breaking year of over 75 attendees for the day! Our families got to explore the numerous fields, learn how the different veggies grow, bounce on the giant jumping balloon, race around the track in pedal cars, and slide down the giant dirt hill. After playing around on the farm, the group sat down to a satisfying lunch of brats and hotdogs provided by Miller Farms and potluck side dishes.

Shining Star Alex and his Mom seeking out the best corn on the farm!

Shining Star Alex and his Mom seeking out the best corn on the farm!

Miller Farms is one of our families' favorite events each year and provides them the opportunity to have a kitchen full of nutritious food and create delicious gifts for all the people that have supported them throughout their journey of having a seriously, chronically ill child. We are very grateful to the Miller Farms staff that continues to support us year after year with our rapidly growing numbers!

I can’t wait to make salsa with my sister! It’s going to be our first time to do it all by ourselves!
— Shining Star Preston K.

Fall is Falling!

Fall is a magnificent time in the High Rockies region of Colorado where we are based. The trees light up into yellow, red and orange while the air gets a little brisk and we are reminded that winter is on it's way.

At Shining Stars, Fall is a time we can reflect on the Summer behind us and plan for the Winter season ahead. This has been a busy and productive Summer for us here at the Foundation.

We put on three large fundraisers with the help of our growing and dedicated volunteer force. Board Member Marty Roberts and Staff Member Heather Bratton, along with our fabulous Golf Committee, put on a SOLD OUT tournament at a brand new course this year at the 10th Annual Tee Off For Kids With Cancer Tournament.

A brand new event was held in June at the Aspen home of Dr. Patricia Hill, Glitz in the Garden. The afternoon featured live music, wine tastings, boutique shopping and delicious bites from local Aspen restaurants. It was a fun and glamorous outing that got us so excited to start planning next summer's Wine, Women, and Shoes fundraiser, which will be held for over 250 people at the base of Aspen Mountain!

Another one of our summer fundraisers is the Winter Park Half Marathon, from which all proceeds are donated to the foundation. Race director and Shining Stars volunteer Nicolena Johnson did an amazing job putting the race together this year and we are so excited to watch this event grow!

The money raised at these events allowed us to fill the summer with fun for our Shining Stars families! Events included a day at the Denver Zoo, Van's Equipment Day, Monster Truck Rally at the Colorado National Speedway, a Lucky Strike bowling event, "The Fault in Our Stars" movie screening, Rockies baseball games, and much more!

Our two summer programs- the Grand County Family Adventure and the Aspen Summer Adventure- were absolutely magical experiences, where we witnessed friends new and old support each other and make new memories.

All of these opportunities have allowed our families to strengthen bonds and create new friendships with others who know the challenges and the struggles of having a child with a life threatening illness. We feel honored and lucky to be able to provide these memory-making,  life-changing experiences to brave children who are fighting or have fought cancer or another life threatening illness, as well as the deserving families who support them.

We truly love what we do and are grateful each day for our supportive communities and inspiring families! We are looking forward to an equally magical Winter season- planning has already begun for Winter Games 2015 and we can't wait to meet all of our new kids.

Thanks for reading and have a great day!