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Vail Valley Charitable Fund: The celebration of passion

Matthew Genelin
Vail Valley Charitable Fund

I wasn’t more than 6 years old when I first remember watching my mom compete as a triathlete. We took the weekend and left Eagle County to visit the city.

She joined hundreds of athletes to compete in the challenging fun. I jumped for every chance to watch her compete, for any glimpse of her wide smile and laugh. To my mom, though, it wasn’t about winning – it was about community, wellness, and lifelong friendships. Through her participation in triathlons, my mom showed me what true passion looks like.

This was one of the many triathlons my mom competed in throughout the years. My mom and her best friends joined races to celebrate different causes. She continued to compete in these races until she injured herself in 2007, the first manifestation of cancer spreading through her body.



All at once, my world came crashing down. The woman who I looked up to for everything had just entered the hardest battle of her life. Although her body weakened throughout treatment, her spirit remained strong. On even her toughest days, she had the strength to smile and shared her contagious laugh.

It was following the news of her cancer diagnosis that she grabbed my hand and told me to hang on to my passions, and that they would bring so much joy in life. She was referring to my passion for music and helping others. She emphasized that it was through her love of triathlon and community that she gained fulfillment in life and friendships.



I’ve carried this advice with me still today. In one year, I will graduate from the University of Colorado School of Medicine as a physician – I strive to embody the same kindness and love for community in my patient care which my mom showed.

The summer my mom died was, and still is, the worst summer of my life. Not a day goes by without a thought of her, wishing she was still here. I wish she could see how much her community rallied behind her after she passed — the lifelong impact she made on so many.

It was this impact that sparked the idea for a memorial triathlon. The 1st Annual LG Tri, named for my mom Laura Genelin, was the beginning of an annual community event. Every July, community members gather to celebrate her life, the sport of triathlon, and the compassion in Eagle County. The Vail Valley Charitable Fund, after graciously supporting our family, hosts this triathlon to support other families experiencing tragedy.

This July 9 is the 14th annual LG Tri. Competitors from all over will travel to Eagle, Colorado to celebrate and race. All skill levels – beginner (e.g. my mediocre swimming abilities) to elite – are welcome. The presence of my mom is apparent in the spirits of the racers and community as we celebrate her life. Join us on July 9 in Eagle by racing or volunteering and see the impact of the Eagle County community and the celebration of passion.


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