Vail Valley Charitable Fund: The many challenges of life

Sherri Wilson
Vail Valley Charitable Fund
Sherri Wilson, heading down Fence Canyon, near Escalante, Utah.
Courtesy photo

Life can be full of challenges. When we are young, the challenges seem difficult, such as: Will I be successful? Will I ever be able to ski Highline with proficiency? Will I be able to attend college? As we age, the challenges change.

Three years ago, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, found during a routine mammogram. After a lumpectomy and 30 days of radiation, I was declared cancer-free. I thought I had kicked this disease in the butt.

Fast forward three years. During another routine mammogram, I heard the all too familiar phrase, “We have detected some abnormalities in your mammogram.” Following a biopsy, the doctor called to inform me that yet again, I had breast cancer. This time, a mastectomy was the only option.

The fear from this diagnosis is overwhelming. You ask yourself, why me? Will I die? Will life ever be the same? Should I have only the cancerous breast removed, or both, to eliminate the chance of another reoccurrence? With the love and compassion of my husband, we decided on a bilateral mastectomy.

Adding to the stress of the diagnosis is knowing that you will be unable to work for 6-8 weeks during recovery from surgery. How will we pay for our deductible, food, gas, mortgage, car insurance, and all other monthly bills with no income? Fortunately, Erin, the social worker at the Shaw Cancer Center, suggested I get in touch with the Vail Valley Charitable Fund, as well as the Swift Eagle Foundation.

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The mission of these wonderful foundations is to help Vail locals in need of financial assistance due to a medical condition. Both groups were incredible. They assisted with financial help that could go toward my deductible, as well as helped with the monthly bills. When I received calls from Brooke, as well as Debbie, telling me that they would be there to help us, I broke down in tears. The relief of knowing that help was on the way financially was so welcome. Now I could concentrate on surgery and recovery.

We are so fortunate to live in such a giving and caring community. We have all been touched by cancer in some way, either personally, through a family member, friend or coworker. The compassion of the Shaw Cancer Center, Vail Valley Charitable Fund, and Swift Eagle is incredible and unmatched. I am now in recovery and doing well, thanks to the wonderful people in this valley.

Sherri Wilson is a Vail Valley Charitable Fund grant recipient. Find out more about the VVCF’s mission at

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