The 2020 Board of Directors of the San Luis Valley Cancer Relief Fund


Sophia P. Avila – President

I still remember attending the first SLVCRF concert. I thoroughly enjoyed the music and the atmosphere that surrounded the event. The amount of love and support that filled the room was enough to bring warmth to my heart and the music really did sooth my soul.

I was later invited to join the organization as secretary and honorably accepted.


I joined SLVCRF in 2012. It was brought to my attention that the SLVCRF was the donor of a mysterious check my dad had received during his battle. There was so much joy that came to his eyes knowing that someone cared so much to provide him with some financial relief. Then come to find out the SLVCRF had provided relief funds to both my father and brother during their treatments. My father passed away January 15, 2011.

My brother won his battle and is not only a survivor but an inspiration. During one of my brother’s treatments he told me that it hurt him more to see that there was nothing physically his family could do to take away the pain and suffering of cancer than the cancer itself. But the love and support we shared endlessly with him was an extra special kind of healing to him. So, I knew that joining this organization would allow me to pay it forward sending extra love and support to the families that are recipients of SLVCRF funds.


Vanessa Tapia – Vice President

Vanessa Tapia is a new board member with the Cancer Relief Fund. Vanessa and her family have suffered the loss of family members due to cancer and have had her aunt fight and win the battle with cancer. Vanessa feels grateful to be able to be a part of this foundation and to serve the community.


Vanessa is a Supervisor with the Conejos County Department of Social Services which she supervises the Child Support, Child Care and Benefit recovery units.  

In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, crafting, and fishing.

Darlene Jordan - Treasurer

Darlene Jordan is a new board member with the San Luis Valley Cancer Relief Fund and will begin serving as Treasurer in January of 2019.  Having had several friends and family succumb to cancer, and being a two-time survivor, she understands the emotional and financial stress that comes with illness and is happy to be part of this important local fund.

Her husband Mike is also a cancer survivor and is very supportive of her joining the SLVCRF board. Darlene and Mike are franchise owners of Dream Vacations and have been helping people from all over the country create memories through travel since 2004. Together they love to travel, hike and make music on guitar and bass, and spend time with their best dog, Bear.

Courtney Allen - Secretary


Dr. Courtney Allen began serving on the board for the San Luis Valley Cancer Relief Fund in December, 2018.  She currently serves as secretary and is grateful to have the opportunity to support a cause that is very close to her heart.  Courtney has experienced the impact of cancer through her aunt's, mother's, and sister’s personal battles with the disease.  She also lost her significant other to colon cancer in 2016.


Courtney is an Assistant Professor of Counselor Education at Adams State University where she coordinates the master's program in school counseling.  She also serves as the Vice President-Post Secondary for the Colorado School Counseling Association and has a small private counseling practice in Alamosa.  In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, camping, cooking, and playing with her dog, Reilly.


Jeremy Silva – Member at Large

I was born and raised in the San Luis valley. After 10 years in Colorado Springs I returned to Del Norte to be closer to my mother and family. I'm one of seven children, and have 12 nieces and nephews, another niece will arrive in late May 2019.

During my time in Colorado Springs I was very engaged in the community from volunteering with the Mayor’s office to serving on the Board of directors of two nonprofits, partnering and developing a pilot program with the Colorado Springs police department- Homeless Outreach Team, and developed the HEART Catholic Charities homeless outreach team. The Mayor and Police Chief presented me with an award of appreciation for all my efforts.

I worked with Catholic Charities for a little over 6 years as the security supervisor and operations manager. At the Marion House and Hanifen Center, we served one hot meal a day to 600 to 800 people. Our facility offered a collaborative of nonprofit partnerships for those less fortunate making it a one stop shop. I'm currently serving on the Board of directors for Tu Casa, as vice president of the board.

I serve to honor my Uncle Lawrence Gutierrez who succumbed to cancer and my cousin Monica Silva who was recently diagnosed with cancer and all those affected by cancer throughout the entire San Luis Valley.

Ronda Benavidez – Member at Large

Brenda Perez – Member at Large