Vail Valley Charitable Fund: This isn’t my first rodeo
Special to the Daily
Hello, my name is Amanda Painter. I am 43 years old and a three-time cancer survivor. I live in Eagle with my husband, Dave, and our two beautiful daughters, Abby, 12, and Emmy, 9.
I spent my college summers working in the Vail Valley and fell in love with the community. After graduation, I returned to the valley and accepted a position teaching third grade at the newly opened St. Clare of Assisi School.
My journey with cancer started when I was 21 and battled and beat non-Hodgkin’s B cell lymphoma. After a treatment protocol of chemotherapy and radiation, my oncologist shook my hand and said that I would never have non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma again, but …
After 11 years of perfect health, I developed a persistent cough and pain in my shins and lower back. As the pain increased, so did my concern. After an ambulance ride to Denver which was a blur, I was diagnosed with stage 4 angiosarcoma in my bone and lung.
Angiosarcoma is a rare cancer that forms in the lining of the blood and lymph vessels and has a dismal prognosis. After 12 rounds of chemo, I celebrated scans that showed no evidence of disease and was put on a maintenance drug to stay ahead of the beast. At this point, I was trying to live one moment at a time and really enjoy my family and friends. My motto was: I can beat this!
Then wait for it, wait …
In November of 2018, during a self-breast exam, I discovered a lump and was diagnosed with triple-negative breast cancer, BRACA2. This wasn’t my first cancer rodeo, but the amazing staff at the Shaw Cancer Center and the Vail Health Foundation went above and beyond to make me feel like the rodeo queen. Following a year of chemotherapy, a double mastectomy, and a hysterectomy, I’m feeling good and am positive that I’ll continue to enjoy good health.
I am especially fortunate to be part of the Vail Valley Charitable Fund family. The understanding, support, and generosity I received from the VVCF have brightened my darkest days.
When visitors think of Vail, images of snowcapped mountains, hiking trails, and blue skies come to mind. When I think of Vail, I am reminded of how fortunate I am to be part of a community that has a “fourteener” heart, provides compassion and caring as support during rocky times, and guarantees 365 days of sunshine in acts of kindness and generosity.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to the Vail Valley Charitable Fund.
Amanda Painter is a Vail Valley Charitable Fund grant recipient. Find out more about the VVCF’s mission at http://vvcf.org/.