Emily and Curtis Graves have shouldered more than their share of tragedy.
In 2006, Curtis, 50, lost his wife of 20 years, Laura, and their three children, Kaleb, 18, Kelsey, 16, and Cameron, 14, in a car accident on the way home from a family spring break trip to Utah.
Emily, 39, had her own tragedy two years later. In May 2008, she lost her husband of 10 years, David Coburn, and her daughters, Kaitlyn, who was almost 9, and Ellie, 4, in an accident in the tiny town of Sweet, Idaho. Emily and her youngest daughter, Jaden, who was 10 months old at the time, were not in the vehicle.
Another daughter, Taylor, who was 6, was in the vehicle and had been critically injured with little hope of survival. She made a full recovery.
During this time, Emily discovered a lump in her neck, which was diagnosed as Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She is now a cancer survivor.
In 2010, Curtis and Emily were introduced by mutual friends and married in May of that year. They moved to Castle Rock in 2011 and in November 2012 started Sunshine 7 Ranch at 3333 Lake Gulch Road.
Soon they welcomed a new child, Tracen, who is now 2, into their blended family.
“The thing that I love most about Colorado is the sunshine,” Emily Graves said. “Seven represents the seven family members that my husband and I lost. That’s where the name Sunshine 7 comes from.”
For the last three years, the Graveses have chosen a few days where they open their ranch up to vendors and hold the Sunshine 7 Barn Boutique for Charity, with the proceeds from the event going to a local family in need.
“It was the people around us that made so much of a difference for us when we were going through our tough time, and we thought, now that times are good it’s our turn to pay it forward,” Graves said.
This year’s event, which will take place May 2 and 3, will bring in more than 60 vendors and craft creators from around the area and will benefit the family of Madi Conley, a freshman at Castle View High School who is battling leukemia.
In October, Madi, a cheerleader, suffered a stress fracture in her spine. When traditional healing methods failed to work, other symptoms began to appear.
A blood test was done and Madi was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a cancer of the myeloid line of blood cells characterized by the rapid growth of abnormal white blood cells that accumulate in the bone marrow and interfere with the production of normal blood cells. AML is the most common acute leukemia that affects adults. She was also diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome, a medical condition with ineffective production of the myeloid class of blood cells.
She was admitted to the hospital and began chemotherapy the first week of January. Madi will eventually need a bone marrow transplant.
“When I was growing up, my best friend was a cheerleader and she passed away from leukemia. When I saw the flier with Madi on it, it just clicked that she was the one,” Graves said.
Each vendor at the boutique will donate an item to be raffled off, with the proceeds going to the Conley family. In addition, 100 percent of the vendor fees will go to the family.
There will also be food, music and face painting.
“It’s just a laid-back, fun, family atmosphere,” Graves said.
Admission is free.