Vail Valley Charitable Fund: An invitation to give back
Pay it forward, volunteer, serve your community, give back … all the phrases we have heard many times. The Vail Valley community is amazing when it comes to the way we help one another.
I consciously try to give back as much as I am able and have focused much of my time with the Vail Valley Charitable Fund. Their mission is to aid individuals who live and work in the Vail Valley who are experiencing a financial hardship due to a medical crisis or long-term illness.
Over the last 20 years, I have attended numerous VVCF fundraisers for friends experiencing serious medical conditions affecting daily life. I believe we all know someone who has experienced a financial setback due to an unexpected life circumstance: cancer, a heart attack, an accident, the premature birth of a child — the list goes on and on. One of the hardest things for us to do is to ask for help — it is both humbling and frightening.
The VVCF took on a very personal meaning when my husband was diagnosed with Stage 4 thyroid cancer 12 years ago. We both had good jobs and great health insurance. Because Brian was self-employed, he did not have sick leave or paid vacation time.
One surgery led to another following a life-threatening complication. Radioactive Iodine treatments followed, which would include two more hospital stays. Suddenly, we found ourselves in a frightening place financially. I was home taking care of Brian, he was not able to work, so we had no income coming in — yet the bills poured in.
We applied for a grant from the VVCF and were thrilled and relieved when we were awarded one that would help us with our growing debts. They also hosted an amazing fundraiser for our family, where friends, both old and new, came to support us.
Once life returned to normal, I wanted to give back to the VVCF. I pursued a role where I could be a part of the organization and repay the lifeline they provided our family. In 2013, I applied and was hired part-time as executive director. I had never worked for a nonprofit, but I knew I wanted to be a part of this organization.
I had the privilege of working for five years, being able to see first-hand how a grant from the VVCF changed the applicants’ perspective and gave them the ability to focus on healing rather than worrying. It was a difficult time when I had to step down to help our ailing parents.
I knew when I left that I wanted to continue to be a part of an organization that makes such a tremendous impact on our community. Now, 18 months later, I have joined the VVCF to be a part of their volunteer board.
I am asking you to get involved. First, if you know a friend, neighbor, or co-worker who is experiencing an illness, please have them apply for a grant. The application may be found on our website http://www.vvcf.org.
Second, volunteer at any of our events: Summer Solstice Trail Run, LG Tri, Oktoberfest Shuffle, etc. Lastly, make a donation so that we may continue to help those in need in our community. I know you will be glad that you took the time to be a part of something that truly makes a difference.