NFL linebacker Dhani Jones, right, will join Ski 4 Yellow’s David Nagel at tonight’s cancer fundraiser banquet, where Jones is the keynote speaker.

Photo by Matt Stensland

NFL linebacker Dhani Jones, right, will join Ski 4 Yellow’s David Nagel at tonight’s cancer fundraiser banquet, where Jones is the keynote speaker.

NFL star joins Ski 4 Yellow in Steamboat

Dhani Jones is keynote speaker at cancer fundraiser tonight

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— Dhani Jones has faced his share of physical challenges.

On his Travel Channel show “Dhani Tackles the Globe,” Jones trained for an 80-mile bike race in Italy that included a grueling 17-mile climb. He climbed part of Mount Everest, traveled to Senegal to wrestle, and got second place in a strongman competition in Iceland. Jones also has tested his body the past 11 years as a linebacker in the NFL.

But nothing compares to the challenge his friend Kunta Littlejohn faced with cancer.

“Most of us have never been on that edge and have had to decide to keep fighting,” Jones said Thursday after a day of skiing at Steamboat Ski Area.

Jones is the keynote speaker at the Ski 4 Yellow cancer fundraiser banquet from 6 to 9 p.m. today at Thunderhead. Banquet tickets are available for $75 on a first-come, first-served basis.

Jones became a global envoy for the Livestrong Foundation through his Bow Tie Cause. In honor of Littlejohn, Jones started making and wearing bowties. Sales of the bowties have raised nearly $200,000 for charity. Seventy-five yellow bowties have been made for this weekend’s inaugural Ski 4 Yellow.

Tonight’s banquet kicks off the two-day Ski 4 Yellow event. The event is a sister project of Ride 4 Yellow, a mountain bike event in Steamboat that raised about $300,000 last year. Ski 4 Yellow co-chairman Kerry Shea said this weekend’s fundraiser was made possible by the work of about 100 volunteers.

To participate in Saturday’s Ski 4 Yellow event, which includes a day of guided skiing with one of 20 past and present Olympians, skiers and riders must pay a registration fee of $75 and raise at least $500 for the fight against cancer. Lift tickets cost $40 for participants who don’t have passes.

The event has not yet hit its 200-person cap, Shea said, but it remains on track to meet a $100,000 fundraising goal. Proceeds will be split between Livestrong and local cancer-related organizations.

To register, visit www.ski4yellow.com or sign up during participant and volunteer registration from noon to 4 p.m. today at Christy Sports at Clock Tower Square.

There is a lot of energy, excitement and anticipation heading into the event, Shea said, and besides raising money, Ski 4 Yellow will educate people about cancer and have survivors and those with cancer share stories.

“I’ll deem that as a success,” Shea said. “I’m feeling really good with where we’re at.”

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