Vail Daily column: Help for those who need it
September 1, 2016
Having just delivered their son, Wells, by caesarian section, Brooke watched helplessly as her baby was whisked to Denver, where he underwent heart surgery at a day old. Brooke's husband, Brett, was with his son in Denver until the baby was released to come home. Two days after the infant was reunited with his family in Eagle-Vail, something went terribly wrong. Wells had a fever of 104 degrees and a heart rate of 258, so he was taken by ambulance to Vail, where doctors in Denver could also monitor the echocardiogram. They flew out of Eagle back to Denver, where Wells spent another week in the hospital. Wells, now 3, has been healthy, despite his tumultuous beginning. He still takes heart medication and sees a cardiologist regularly. However, their daughter, Sobrie, now 5, has a different heart condition that needs regular monitoring and may also need surgery.
"We received a grant from the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, and it was such a gift as we were so stressed financially," said Brooke. "We have health insurance, but there's so much that wasn't covered. I'm self-employed and couldn't work, so it allowed us some breathing room."
Several years ago, Cici Franklin, then a single mother of two sons and the owner of a small retail business in Eagle, was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was difficult for her to keep the business afloat, care for her children and undergo surgery and treatment. The grant from the Vail Valley Charitable Fund allowed her to focus on healing. As a regular volunteer when her health stabilized, Cici was always willing to work a fundraiser and donate items for silent auctions.
It was 20 years ago this fall when a fundraiser was held to benefit Cindy Nash, who was battling esophageal cancer. As a mother of a 2-year-old daughter, Montana, Cindy fought valiantly. She and her husband Curt, were well-connected in the valley as they both taught several classes a week as exercise specialists. When you're self-employed and a medical crisis hits, it's especially tough.
"I cannot express how much I appreciated all the assistance our family received during Cindy's illness," said Curt Nash. "Knowing that there were so many people in this valley willing to help our family during that difficult time meant as much to me as the actual money. The donations raised gave me peace of mind so that I could focus on taking care of Cindy and Montana."
Montana, now 22, has been volunteering with the Vail Valley Charitable Fund since she was a senior at Battle Mountain High School.
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Following the Nash fundraiser, the Vail Valley Charitable Fund was founded, with the mission to assist those who live and work in the Vail Valley and are in need of financial assistance due to medical crisis. To date, more than 1,400 families have received grants totaling $7 million. With a special 20th anniversary fundraising focus, the Vail Valley Charitable Fund board hopes to assist more people and be able to grant larger dollar amounts. To donate, sign up to volunteer, to apply for funds or learn more about the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, go to http://www.vvcf.org or call 970-524-1480
Marka Moser is a member of the Vail Valley Charitable Fund board of directors.
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