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Ski marker honors cancer victim

With Mary Craig and friends looking on, Markus Vodosek and daughter Miriam unveil Simon's sign.
With Mary Craig and friends looking on, Markus Vodosek and daughter Miriam unveil Simon's sign.
Mike Terry, For The Deseret Morning News

It sits unassuming in the trees, the small blue sign that says Simon's Way.

It's easy for those going down the Explorer lift at Brighton Ski Resort to miss the marker just off the top of the lift in a grove of trees.

However, the significance of the sign, no matter its size or location, can't be downplayed, for it represents more than just a sign — it represents a 7-year-old who loved life and did his best to live it but in the end lost a battle with cancer.

On April 14, friends and family of Simon Craig Vodosek, who died in 2004 from neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer, gathered to unveil the sign placed somewhere Simon enjoyed being.

"I'm very touched. We've known for about two weeks it was going to happen," said Mary Craig, Simon's mother. "There's something about it that's just a shot right to my heart."

Simon first skied on the same run at Brighton Jan. 17, 2004, only a few days after his parents found out his cancer had returned. Although he had to work his way through an initial bout of frustration and tears, he found a new energy while taking a break for lunch at Brighton's Alpine Rose restaurant. After that, he had a wonderful time for the remainder of the day, his father, Markus Vodosek, said at the unveiling.

Friends and family alike were touched by the sign. Kira Kilmer, a friend of the family, teared up as she recalled how hard it was to lose Simon and that the run is a good way to remember him.

"I think anytime you have that sort of thing to deal with you have to get yourself to a place where you can be at peace in your heart," she said. "This run has allowed the Vodoseks to do that."

Miguel Gutierrez, 9, who was Simon's best friend, thought naming the run after Simon was pretty cool. "(Others) can remember him by the name of the run, and it will stay forever," he said. "I'm always going to remember him."

As Craig is just learning to ski, she didn't have the chance to ski with her son, but she said it will be interesting to see the effects the run will have as a legacy for Simon's sister, Miriam Vodosek, who was only 4 when he died.

"I think of my daughter Miriam growing up, and over the years she'll have a place to ski by and remember her brother," she said.

In connection with the unveiling, discounted all-day ski passes for April 14 were available through Simon's family, who plan to donate $12 of each adult ticket and $8 of each youth ticket to the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer Foundation. CNCF supports research into neuroblastoma and educates the public, pediatricians and families about this vicious form of cancer.

Naming the run Simon's Way leaves just the message Vodosek and Craig hope people can remember about their son.

"It helps us remember what a happy, lively guy he was," Craig said. "He had a lovely way. I would like to think people coming through here can carry that with them."


E-mail: twalquist@desnews.com