Denver Derby Party helps kids go to college

Hinkley High School senior Nastassja Wilburn told us her story.

DENVER - If you're from around here you probably know about Colorado's epic Denver Derby Party.

The sold-out event is something people wait for all year, and they definitely go all-out with their incredible Derby fashion. 

What some don't know is the reason behind the massive party held on the Denver Performing Arts Complex. 

Yes, it's to celebrate the Kentucky Derby, but for Denver, it's about providing underprivileged students the chance to go to college. 

All of proceeds from the Denver Derby Party go to the Sean Ranch Lough-Foundation, which gives students who couldn't otherwise go to college a full-ride scholarship. 

This year, the foundation is giving three students a four-year scholarship to Colorado State University. 

One of those recipients is Nastassja Wilburn. 

The 17-year-old hasn't had an easy up-bringing. She lived with her grandparents growing up because her parents weren't really in the picture. When she was 10, she was diagnosed with Leukemia. 

"When I was first diagnosed, it was really scary for me," Wilburn said. "I didn’t know how to feel or what to think. For the last eight years I’ve been going to Children’s Hospital on and off to get my treatments." 

She would catch the bus or walk to the hospital, because she was living in multiple hotels throughout her childhood. 

School was her escape from everything, and Wilburn said she knew that if she wanted to have a better life, she had to get a better education. 

Wilburn's brother was her strongest support system. She said he was so excited to learn whether or not she was granted this year's scholarship.

On April 21 2017, Wilburn's brother was shot and killed. 

"When I got it I wanted to call him and tell him I finally got it," she said. "I know he's proud of me." 

Last week, the Sean Ranch Lough-Foundation presented Wilburn a check for a four-year, full-ride scholarship to Colorado State University. 

The foundation has given out 48 scholarship over the years. 

The Denver Derby Party is the largest Kentucky Derby celebration outside of Churchill Downs, according to Livability.com. 

Thanks to the donations from those who attend, students like Nastassja are able to go to college. 

For more information about the Denver Derby Party and the Sean Ranch Lough-Foundation, visit DenverDerby.com. 

See Nastassja's story below: 

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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