Lee Nagel is proud to claim Steamboat Springs resident David Nagel as family.
“We love him; we get to keep him,” said Lee, who is married to David’s brother Steve in Plano, Texas.
The Nagels have grown closer in recent years since Lee was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in November 2004. Doctors thought the disease would kill her, but after six months of intensive treatment and surgery, it appears that she had beaten cancer. After five years, doctors declared her cured.
“In an odd way, it’s been a blessing,” Lee said about the disease. “The journey started. We all wanted to do something and make a difference in eradicating the disease.”
The journey led to David’s involvement in numerous Lance Armstrong Foundation Livestrong fundraisers. The inaugural Swing Fore! Yellow last summer organized by the Nagel families in Plano netted $325,000.
The journey will continue this summer in Steamboat, where David has enlisted the help of 25 volunteers for the inaugural Ride4Yellow fundraiser.
The 41-year-old Steamboat lawyer hopes to raise more than $150,000 during the event, which features two mountain bike rides Aug. 8. Money raised will be split among Livestrong and local cancer causes.
“I think he decided that he had it in him to make a difference,” Lee said. “I’m so proud of him that he had the courage to put himself out there and do something that affects so many people.”
Community response to the Steamboat event has been tremendous, said David, who has a wife, Aimee, and two children.
“What’s been cool about it is it’s an easy sell,” he said, adding that the sponsorship goal of $30,000 already had been surpassed by May.
Ride4Yellow is just his latest philanthropic endeavor in Steamboat. David, who first came to Steamboat in 1990 for a one-season stint as a gondola lift operator, sits on the Yampa Valley Community Foundation board. He was one of the founders of Impact 100, which introduces young professionals to philanthropy. He is also a commissioner for the Urban Redevelopment Area Advisory Committee, which oversees public improvement projects at the base of Steamboat Ski Area.
“Having a gold-star base area that we can tout,” David said, “I think it’s really important.”