Community raising funds for mom battling cancer
Vail, CO Colorado
EAGLE, Colorado ” Between chasing her two young children around, keeping the family’s Eagle Ranch home and being 8-months pregnant with her third baby, Jill Lipovsky sometimes forgets she has cancer.
“I try to keep busy. It takes my mind off it,” she said. “But there are times when I’m by myself, or at night, when the fear and stress do creep up on me.”
After the longtime Vail Valley local was diagnosed with one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer in May, her life became a whirlwind of chemotherapy treatments and doctor’s visits.
“(The news) was devastating,” said her husband, Matt Lipovsky.
The couple decided to start the cancer treatment with doctors carefully monitoring the baby. Jill Lipovsky, 34, is expected to give birth in November, undergo more chemo and then get a mastectomy and have her ovaries removed. The procedures are precautions to prevent further cancer, which runs in her family.
But despite the daunting medical schedule, the family said they’ve tried to stay positive and keep life as normal as possible for the children, nearly-3-year-old Anja and 18-month-old Erich.
“Looking back, I might say this is hard, but you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” Jill Lipovsky said. “As with anything else, it’s doable. Hopefully I’ll look back and chalk it up to another victory.”
Friends said they have been amazed by her positive spirit and continued sense of humor.
“She’s truly an inspiration,” said Tyra Rudrud, a family friend. “She’s been extremely upbeat. She has to be because of her kids ” she doesn’t want them to see Mommy tired.”
But Matt Lipovsky admits the past few months have been very stressful on the family.
“It’s stressful for me, and I can’t even imagine what it is for her ” raising kids and being pregnant and having an uncertain feeling of what the future holds,” he said.
Meanwhile, the medical bills not covered by insurance began to stack up.
Matt Lipovsky, who works as a server at the Mirabelle, for a remodeling company and is a Beaver Creek ski instructor, began trying to work extra hours to pay the bills.
However, chemotherapy treatments often left Jill Lipovsky exhausted and sick, meaning her husband had to take time off work to help care for the kids.
Friends of the family, partnering with the Vail Valley Charitable Foundation, decided to pitch in and organize a fundraiser to help offset the bills. A party with raffle prizes, live music and a silent auction will be held at Rick and Kelly’s Bistro in Edwards on Sept. 18.
Rudrud, who is helping organize the event, said she has received a great response from businesses and individuals who want to pitch in.
“There’s just been an outpouring of support. Everyone wants to do something,” Rudrud said. “Our goal is just to raise enough so that they’re comfortable and can keep their home. They’re stretched pretty thin.”
Realizing the family couldn’t make it on their own, Matt Lipovsky agreed to help raise support. To his surprise, people responded, he said.
“It’s hard to ask for help,” he said. “It’s so awkward going to businesses and asking for donations, and for me, it’s always an emotional thing. But it’s been amazing just to see the responses people have had.”
Besides the fundraiser, the Lipovskys said they have been grateful for the overwhelming support and encouragement they’ve received.
Friends have come everyday to walk the family dog, and complete strangers have delivered dinners to them, Jill Lipovsky said.
“I don’t think this would happen anywhere else, even in our own hometowns,” Matt Lipovsky said.
“There’s a very special bond in this valley,” Jill Lipovsky said. “I hope to be able to repay some people someday.
Staff writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or firstname.lastname@example.org.