Stacia Buck's siblings played a series of games to give out presents each Christmas. Inspired, Buck and her husband created an Amazing Race-esque gift-giving event for the entire extended family. Word got out and the game soon expanded beyond the Buck family, and the Urban Navigator Race was born.
Now, a citywide fundraising adventure, the race pits teams of two against each other to scour Denver, solve clues, and complete challenges. Each site has Minute to Win It-inspired games, like shooting marshmallows into a team member’s backpack or pool kayaking at DU.
While the competition is fierce, the event is about much more than just winning. Since it began five years ago, the race has donated what it raises to the Denver nonprofit, Brent’s Place, which offers housing for families with sick children. In 1997, Linda and Donn Eley established the Brent Eley Foundation as a tribute to their son who died from complications for a transplant to treat a fast-growing, malignant cancer. The following year, Brent’s Place opened its doors, and since then, has been a home away from home for children with cancer and their families. Located near the Children’s Hospital, Brent’s Place allows these kids to stay with their families without worry of infection—free of charge.
It is “a little respite from the world,” says Rachel Wool, Brent’s Place’s volunteer and community outreach coordinator. Apartments and community spaces, including a movie room, game room, and outdoor playground, strive to give the children a sense of normalcy during their stay, which usually lasts more than three months. “While here,” says Wool, “they can just be kids.”
Last year, the Urban Navigator Race raised more than $16,000 for Brent’s Place. This year, its first as an official Brent’s Place event, is expected to be even bigger. The race will begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, September 8, outside the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant. Registration is $40 per person and each team must raise $100. To form a team or donate to one, visit this site.