Vail Valley Charitable Fund: Truly making a difference |

Vail Valley Charitable Fund: Truly making a difference

Brooke and Brett Gagnon
Special to the Daily
The Gagnon family.
Special to the Daily

When we think about all the reasons that we love the Vail Valley — of course, powder days in the Back Bowls, and strolls down Bridge Street top the list — but the true love we have for the Vail Valley is found in its incredible community. Locals helping locals has been the motto since our beloved town was formed. We are so blessed to live in such a caring and compassionate community.

The stress of a sick child is overwhelming, and compounding that stress with the financial burden of excessive medical costs and unpaid time off at work is devastating. We are so grateful to the Vail Valley Charitable Fund for helping alleviate some of those immediate costs and letting our family focus on the health and well-being of our children.

When our newborn son was airlifted to an intensive care unit for a second time after his emergency heart surgery, we knew we had great financial challenges ahead. We didn’t know anything was wrong with our son, Wells, before he was born. You can imagine our shock and surprise when after getting to snuggle him for a few brief seconds they put him on oxygen and whisked him away. 

He was airlifted to Denver and less than 24 hours old, he had an eight-hour heart surgery to repair a coarctation of the aorta. The procedure was a success and after a week in the NICU we could come home. Our family hoped the worst was behind us and we had a promising outlook. 

A few days later, we took him to a local doctor sensing something was not “right,” and he was airlifted a second time to Denver. Back in the NICU, the pediatric cardiology team was able to stabilize his heart rate and treat him for possible infections. Wells was able to come home again — but required to be “quarantined” for several months to remain healthy.  The grant we received from the Vail Valley Charitable Fund allowed us to focus on the well-being and health of our family. We are happy to report Wells is doing great — he’s a curious and kind 6-year-old!

We look forward to the opportunity to give back to this organization with our time and volunteering with our children. The Vail Valley Charitable Fund is truly making a difference for our local families. When it seems like the odds are against you, it really restores your faith to have someone give you a helping hand.

Brooke and Brett Gagnon are recipients of a grant from the Vail Valley Charitable Fund. Find out more about the VVCF’s mission at

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