Vail Valley Charitable Fund: Gratitude abounds |

Vail Valley Charitable Fund: Gratitude abounds

Angie Brown
Vail Valley Charitable Fund
Angie Brown

I was fine and felt great. I exercised daily, ate healthy, and took care of myself physically and mentally. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the diagnosis of cancer would apply to me — until it happened. 

I was simply minding my own business while sitting on the couch watching a movie with my kids when I found a fairly large lump. In that moment, I started to tear up because I knew, at least part of me did. I tried to talk myself out of it. “Maybe it’s just a cyst,” I said to myself. I put it out of my head to get by. I hadn’t had a mammogram in five years, so I got in to see the doctor as soon as I could.

At the end of 2020, I went through several tests which came back positive for stage 3 breast cancer, grade 3. On top of receiving the positive test results for breast cancer, they also had found a cancerous thyroid nodule. Things quickly became very daunting when the doctors gave me the treatment plan of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, radiation and reconstruction — all of which were going to consume the next couple of years of my life. 

Being a single working mom, my thoughts went straight to the kids and how I was going to support and be there for them. As the medical bills started to pile up, I heard about the Vail Valley Charitable Fund through a friend. Wanting to heal naturally along with Western medicine and all the stresses that come with the diagnosis of cancer, I quickly applied for a grant through the VVCF.

Receiving this gift was a huge blessing to my children and me. I am very grateful to the VVCF for their generosity and the community I feel blessed to be a part of. Today, I feel amazing. I had a great response from the treatment and continue to practice self-care and enjoy each moment I am given. I am so very grateful for the people in my life and the valley in which I live. My life has changed forever in a great way.

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Angie Brown is a Vail Valley Charitable Fund grant recipient. Gabriella Matus is the senior director of Walking Mountains Science Center, and Vail Valley Charitable Fund and Vail Breast Cancer Group grant recipient. Find out more about the VVCF’s mission at

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