Fifteen years ago, my family faced a large financial strain when my mom was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. My name is Montana Nash and I am the daughter of Curt and Cindy Nash. Because I was only 2 years old, I don't remember much about that time. Now that I am older, I have learned about our experience from family members and friends. I know that my mom gave the utmost strength to battle that horrible disease and fight for every last moment of her life. I also know that community fundraisers gave our family the money that we needed to pay medical bills and give my mom the most fulfilling last months of life. Her experience made an impact on the individuals around her, several of whom consequently created The Vail Valley Charitable Fund to help others like my mom.
I am now 17 years old and a senior at Battle Mountain High School. I am a member of my high school dance team and also take classes at the Vail Valley Academy of Dance. Like my parents did, I take advantage of our active and beautiful valley by biking, skiing, and hiking. As I started to think about colleges, careers, and my future, I felt that volunteering would be beneficial. I have chosen to work with the VVCF because it connects back to my family and is a perfect opportunity to understand what my mom and dad experienced 15 years ago. I was also inspired by Andrew Claymon, who was a classmate of mine. I attended the fundraising event that the VVCF held for him in 2009 and was completely impressed by the number of people who came out to support such an amazing young kid.
When I really started researching the VVCF and met with Karen Simon, their executive director, I truly began to understand the mission of the organization. By supporting and caring for families in our community during a medical crisis, the VVCF has blessed many families, like mine, with the opportunity to stay in our valley and plan for a bright future, even during the toughest times. The VVCF has accomplished so much since my mom was sick, helping over 1,000 local families and raising more than $5 million. This is a highly successful organization that I am proud to be a part of. Involving myself gives me an opportunity to give back to those that helped my family when we were in crisis. It also gives me an idea of what it felt like to be in the auditorium at my mom's fundraiser in 1996. I hope others will continue to support the VVCF so that more kids like me have the opportunity to share their stories. Here's to another successful 15 years, VVCF!
From the Vail Daily
Editor's note: Montana Nash was just a toddler when her family was the focus of the first fund-raiser held by the Vail Valley Charitable Fund. Now, she wants to help the group and its mission of helping locals facing massive medical bills.