Vail Valley Charitable Fund: A long hauler’s story of survival
Vail Valley Charitable Fund
I am so incredibly grateful for the Vail Valley Charitable Fund and other local nonprofits who deeply care about their community and are always there to help if you are down on your luck, which is where I found myself 18 months ago and still as of today.
These past two years have been difficult on everyone, and it happens to be that I was one of the unlucky ones who developed long COVID-19 after having acute COVID-19 in March of 2020. I honestly don’t have words for how terrifying and horrendous this experience has been. I have not been able to work for over 16 months and have pretty much lost everything. These are times when you realize the most important thing in life is having your health.
Twenty-four years of living in the mountains and always being able to physically do what I wanted came to a grinding halt last year. I had never been so sick for so long in my life. There is a primordial urge to live that I did not know existed.
The doctors had (and still have) no answers, so trying to be a self-advocate during this time has been beyond burdensome. This isn’t the case for the 30% of individuals who will experience post-COVID-19 symptoms.
With chronic illness comes a lot of introspection and contemplation. When you are this sick for so long, there is nowhere to run and nowhere to hide. Thankfully, I live in one of the most amazing communities in the country, and my needs have been taken care by our valley full of beautiful people. One of these generous nonprofits was the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, and I am forever appreciative to them for their support.
Before COVID-19, I was a deep-tissue massage therapist always on the go. This experience put life in perspective for me. I have been humbled to my core and learned to open my heart and receive.
Throughout this journey, I’ve discovered just how much kindness is out there. Sometimes it is your turn to be the giver, and other times it is your turn to be the receiver. In losing my health, I have now gained inner peace. I am still on this journey, but I know I will heal, and I could not be in a better place and be around better people than in the Vail Valley.
Thank you to the Vail Valley Charitable Fund and all of the locals who have helped me in one way or the other. I am looking forward to my time to give back.
Dana Gosnell is Vail Valley Charitable Fund grant recipient. Find out more about the VVCF’s mission at VVCF.org.