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A crowd of about 200 people begin walking up Mesa Lane at the start of the HRRMC Cancer Walk on Sept. 29 (photo by Daniel Smith).

The Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center’s inaugural Cancer Walk was declared a success by organizers, with more than 200 participants taking part Sept. 29.

Residents, many with families and dogs, did the 2-mile walk from the hospital up Mesa Lane, past the Salida Golf Course on Crestone Avenue, down the Anglers Trail to CR 154, past Frantz Lake and back to the hospital entrance on Colo. Highway 291.

The locally oriented walk replaces the American Cancer Society walk held in previous years on Tenderfoot Mountain. Organizers said declining participation and concerns over the funds raised going to ACA instead of being totally utilized locally led to the change this year.

Participants head down the walkway beside the Salida Golf Course during the Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center Cancer Walk on Sept. 29 (photo by Daniel Smith).

The event raised $9,275.18, according to coordinator Emily Haynes, including fees from registrations, sales of burritos along the route and outright donations.

The funds, administered through the hospital foundation, will be used for cancer patient needs, including equipment, wigs, medications, massage services and gas cards for those who have to travel some distance for further treatment. Volunteers are also needed to drive patients to treatment. More information is available at

Many walkers on Saturday said they were pleased with the event, and some were cancer survivors or taking part to honor relatives or friends who were cancer victims.

A woman who had just finished the walk said she did it for her mother, who she lost in August to breast cancer, “to honor her memory.”

Daniel Wardrop, hospital chief of staff, took part and said at the conclusion it was gratifying.

“For me personally, as a radiologist, I’ve seen a lot of cancer, especially breast cancer, but all cancers because of the diagnostic studies we do; and so I really like the support it gives to the people. I always supported the American Cancer Society in the past, but definitely the crowds were getting smaller.

“And a lot of people were concerned that it (funding) was not staying in town or in the county. I think the big thing is the funds are staying in the county. … This is more support for those who have cancer.”

Sponsors, besides HRRMC and its foundation, included Three Eagles Communications, Don’t Go Nuts, Atmos Energy, Xi Epsilon Delta, John and Donna Rhoads, Heart of the Rockies Radiology, The Mixing Bowl, Burma Enterprises and Collegiate Peaks Bank.