Vail Valley Charitable Fund: So lucky to live in a giving community |

Vail Valley Charitable Fund: So lucky to live in a giving community

As a member of the Vail Valley community for over 25 years, I am overwhelmed by the amazing support that I have received from the Vail Valley Charitable Fund and the people who live in this community. As people often say, you never know what’s going to happen in life.

That was the case in the fall of 2018. Everything was going well. I was gainfully employed with two teaching jobs that I loved and was looking forward to the start of a new school year. That’s when I unexpectedly got sick and was rushed to Porter Hospital in Denver. That is when my health took a life-changing turn.

Prior to that, I was a relatively healthy person. But late in the summer of 2018, my doctor requested kidney tests and I started the school year not knowing how serious this would turn out, and like anyone that receives a negative diagnosis, you keep hoping for the best and telling yourself this won’t happen.

But it did. While I was at school, I passed out and was rushed to Porter Hospital in Denver. The doctors informed me that I had pneumonia and, after a long stay in the intensive care unit, it was determined my kidneys were weakening. I was now a dialysis patient hoping for a future transplant that could take many years.

The next few months were very difficult, with several more hospital stays in Denver. This time was very tough personally because I had gone from being excited about many wonderful opportunities with my life in the Vail Valley to none, and feeling so vulnerable. These changes were extreme for me. I was unable to work and I was very ill. Life was changing so fast and I began to worry about the bills piling up. I often wondered if I’d ever get better or even have the strength to focus on my medical bills.

Then a ray of sunshine entered my life. A good friend suggested I reach out to the Vail Valley Charitable Fund and apply for a grant. Having worked for the school district for decades, I am not a stranger to all the community efforts to help people in need and raising money for many organizations, but I never imagined myself being a recipient. I applied for a grant, and within a short time, I was awarded a $5,000 grant to cover some of my medical expenses. 

This support could not have come at a better time. I was so grateful to be able to pay some of the bills that had been accumulating. But more importantly, I came to appreciate the fact that people who did not even know me were there to support me. I truly never imagined being the person who needed support from others and I have come to realize that we are all so lucky to live in such a giving community. 

With the help of so many, a year later, I can gratefully say I’m turning the corner and returning to a different kind of life, but good and every day getting stronger. I gracefully thank the Vail Valley Charitable Fund for supporting me in my time of struggle. I hope in the future I can return the support in some small way.

Doreen Meringolo is a middle school teacher and a VVCF grant recipient. Find out more about the VVCF’s mission at

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