The 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 soothe, 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 on 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.
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.
Brenda Perez – Member at Large
My name is Brenda Perez, I was raised here in the San Luis Valley. Moved a while to Greeley, CO, but returned to finished school and be closer to family.
Like many people around the valley and the world, I have been a victim of cancer in loved ones. My grandmother passed when my dad was a teenager to ovarian cancer. My grandfather passed when I was a little girl of lung cancer. He passed so fast we were not able to see him again since he was in Mexico. When Sophia told me about SLVCRF and what the fund does, I was more than happy to help and be part of a great cause. Being able to relieve some of the everyday struggles cancer patients have is very rewarding to me.
Kathy Palmer-Heim – Member at Large
My name is Kathy Palmer-Heim and I am a native-born Colorado girl. I moved to Virginia in 1999, married my best friend, and raised three beautiful children. While in Virginia, I earned my Masters in education and worked for 15 years as a middle school counselor. My husband and I returned to Colorado a few years ago and are currently working part-time at Centennial School.
As with most people, I have witnessed the loss of loved ones to cancer. After the tragic death of my own son, I wanted to find opportunities to help cancer patients battling this disease. I served for one year on the transplant Board at National Children’s Hospital in Washington, D.C, and created a fundraiser to honor my son and raise money for bone marrow transplant patients.
I look forward to serving on the board of the SLV Cancer Relief Fund and helping to meet some of the needs of cancer patients in the San Luis Valley.