Vail woman honors her late brother
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL, Colorado – Vail resident Lucy Canestorp recently donated $4,000 to Colorado West Regional Mental Health – an unprecedented donation to the nonprofit organization that offers various counseling services to locals.
Canestorp had never heard of Colorado West, but she’s learned a lot in the last year since her brother, Jesse Canestorp, was killed while crossing Interstate 70 in West Vail.
There were times when Lucy Canestorp wished her brother could get counseling for his drinking, she said.
“The kind of drinking which many people in our valley think is normal because all their friends are drinking right along with them,” she said. “I had no idea Colorado West even existed, let alone was an affordable way of counsel.”
Susan Rodger, program coordinator for Colorado West Regional Mental Health of Eagle County, said it’s fairly common for people not to know that much about the organization. It’s the kind of organization that she said often takes a back seat to the others that serve the community.
“I always think we’re kind of one of the less glamorous and certainly one of the poorest nonprofits in Eagle County,” Rodger said. “We’ve never really done a good job of fundraising. We haven’t had the staff to do it.”
That’s why Lucy Canestorp’s donation means so much, Rodger said.
“A check for $4,000 – to a nonprofit like ours, that’s really significant,” Rodger said.
It was the beginning of December when Lucy Canestorp walked into Colorado West’s Vail office in the Lionshead parking structure. Rodger said they sat down and ended up talking for about an hour about Jesse Canestorp and the benefit Lucy was putting together in his honor.
Lucy Canestorp said she wanted to raise money for a local cause that needs financial support in order to help those in the community who are also financially strapped. And because she would be raising the money in her brother’s memory, she felt the money should go toward Colorado West’s drug and alcohol programs.
“I wanted all of those in need of help for drug and alcohol problems, as well as depression, to know there is help here,” Lucy Canestorp said. “I want those that think that they can’t afford counseling to know that now you can.”
Colorado West offers drug and alcohol counseling for individuals, families and groups, as well as court-ordered programs like driving under the influence therapy. The Eagle County branch also has a full-time psychiatric nurse on staff who can also write prescriptions, Rodger said.
For those unable to pay, Colorado West will work with those patients and try to get them on an uninsured benefit program or get them signed up for Medicaid benefits if they qualify.
Colorado West receives some state funding, and also receives funding through insurance billing, but donations are few and far between to the organization.
“This is really the first really significant donation to my knowledge we’ve ever had in Eagle County,” Rodger said.
Lucy Canestorp raised the money at the benefit event held on Dec. 16. She said she’s extremely proud of the community for donating so much to the cause. She said she’s also setting up a “Jesse fund” for anyone else who wants to get help but can’t afford it. The fund is certainly something Jesse Canestorp would have endorsed.
“My brother was very loving to others, even if he just met them,” Lucy Canestorp said. “It didn’t matter if he knew you for years or just met you, if you needed a jacket to keep you warm he would give you his, even though he would suffer for it.”