A Durango woman is finalizing plans to walk 343 miles in 43 days this summer to honor people who have battled brain or
spinal tumors - as did her late husband - and to call attention to a cutting-edge medical center that treats the
My goal is to acquaint people in the communities I pass through with the services of the CNI (Colorado Neurological
Institute) Center for Brain and Spinal Tumors and raise funds for it," Samantha Brow (rhymes with grow) said last
Brow, who just turned 50, plans to hike the Colorado Trail from Denver to Creede, starting July 5. She'll walk seven to
13 miles each day, camping for the most part. But in Fairplay, Breckenridge, Lead-ville, Poncha Springs and Saguache,she'll stay in a motel. In Creede, she'll get a ride home because she's already hiked the Creede-to-Durango stretch of
the Colorado Trail.
She calls it Sam's Walk: A Journey of Healing and Remembering."
This July - while I'm on the trail - will mark the sixth anniversary of the passing of my husband, Ray," Brow
The couple was cross country skiing near Breckenridge in 2002 when he collapsed from a brain aneurysm, Brow said. After
that, he underwent 30 months of treatment for a brain tumor at CNI, located at Swedish Hospital in Englewood. He was
apparently cancer-free when he died while swimming during a vacation in Hawaii.
The center accepts about 50 new patients with brain tumors each year, Dr. Edward Arenson, the neuro-oncologist who
treated Ray Brow, said by telephone. Cases of spinal tumors are rare, he said.
We take an innovative approach to treating brain tumors," Arenson said. It's chemotherapy but with a multidrug
regimen, whereas the standard treatment is a single drug.
Our two-, three-, four- and five-year survival rates are twice as high as treatments that use a single drug," Arenson
said. Our patients have a 35 percent survival rate after three years and a 20 percent survival rate after five
Arenson said CNI has introduced recently approved Avastin, a drug that attacks the blood supply to a tumor. It's hoped
that Avastin, if used in the early stages of a tumor, will produce better results, he said.
The 343-mile trek shouldn't be too daunting for Brow, who works at Gardenswartz Outdoors. She skis, hikes, runs, bikes,fly fishes and rides horseback around her home in the hills west of Durango.
On the trail, Brow hopes to limit the contents of her rucksack - tent, stove, sleeping bag, clothes and food - to 37
pounds. Friends will replenish her stores at points where the Colorado Trail runs close to a highway.
Fiancé Robert Bisinger, a handful of friends and Arenson will accompany her on stretches of the route, Brow said.
A constant companion will be Chloe, a 3-year-old Lab mix that Brow rescued from the Humane Society.
This dog has issues," Brow said. So the trek may be a good bonding experience."
Brow bonded immediately with CNI as a result of her husband's experience. She's joined the CNI team in the Elephant
Rock Cycling Festival for five years, doing the Elephant Rock 100, a 100-mile course that begins and ends in Castle