In trying times, Bust of Steamboat highlights breast cancer awareness over money |

In trying times, Bust of Steamboat highlights breast cancer awareness over money

Karla Padilla has been cancer-free for more than a year. She credits early diagnosis of breast cancer with the help of the Bust of Steamboat, a group dedicated to helping women with mammograms and cancer support, for her health. The Steamboat mom is seen here with her 4-year-old daughter Fernanda.
Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When Steamboat Springs mom Karla Padilla felt a lump in her breast at the age of 31, she decided to have it checked out at the hospital, getting a mammogram and ultrasound.

A diagnosis of breast cancer at such a young age shocked Padilla to her core.

“The first thing I thought of was my daughter,” Padilla said. “I couldn’t do this to her… dying when she was just 2 years old.”

Lucky for Padilla, she had an army of dedicated people from the Bust of Steamboat, an organization that helps men and women both financially and personally with mammograms and breast cancer treatment, to help her.

“The most important thing they did was help me emotionally. We’re blessed to live in a town where there’s people like this to help you,” said Padilla, who raved about the volunteers who walked alongside her during her cancer journey.

The Bust of Steamboat is the well-known nickname for the Yampa Valley Breast Cancer Awareness Project. For years, the Bust of Steamboat would auction off decorated bras at its big gala, and more recently, they transitioned to a different campaign called Paint the Town Pink, where businesses are urged to come up with ideas to raise money and raise awareness about breast cancer.

But this year, organizers have a different message.

“Clearly, it’s been a rough year for a lot of people,” said Deb Curt-Kinnecom, founder of Bust of Steamboat. “Our focus this year is just awareness. We’re not pounding the pavement asking for any little bit from business owners.”

Instead, the organization will just encourage and help businesses decorate their shops with pink décor to remind people that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

Fortunately, an anonymous donor helped the Bust of Steamboat stay afloat this year, so that no local resident who has been diagnosed with breast cancer goes without support or treatment.

“We’re still taking care of women, supporting them financially, any way we can,” Curd-Kinnecom said.

Padilla urges women to know their body and stay aware of any changes. She also said don’t be afraid to ask for help.

“It’s better to be treated earlier than later,” she said.

In her case, Padilla had the option of a single mastectomy but chose a double mastectomy, saying she had a family to think of.

“I know I had to do it for my daughter. I had to keep from getting cancer again,” she said.

So far, Padilla has been cancer free for more than a year. She continues to go to the UCHealth Jan Bishop Cancer Center in Steamboat Springs for checkups with the support of husband, Sergio, and daughter Fernanda. And, of course, the Bust of Steamboat volunteers remain a part of her support team.  

For more information about the Bust of Steamboat, visit

Frances Hohl is a contributing writer for Steamboat Pilot & Today.

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