Great feel good story with the Telluride Ride Festival-
Good Deed For One Of Our Own
The following letter is written by Velvet Johnson, former Volunteer Coordinator of HDG and one of its founders:
Those of you who know Jesse and I well know that we both really love the band Pearl Jam. We have seen them play multiple times, we literally own more than 100 live shows on CD, we have framed Pearl Jam posters in our living room. I have always described Pearl Jam concerts as magical. They have the ability to bring people together, to find the good in the world and the power to make people forget the problems of life. You can look around a room of 35,000 people and see pure joy. It is a sight and feeling like no other.
Another thing that we both really love is Telluride, Colorado. It has always been a special place to our family and we have created a lot of great memories there. It is a beautiful, peaceful place.
Last winter, while I was recovering from surgery, we discovered that Pearl Jam would be playing at The Ride Festival this year in Telluride. Tickets to this event were not cheap and because I had just had major surgery and a long hospital stay, we simply could not afford to buy tickets to the festival. However we discovered that if we signed up to work as volunteers at the festival, we could earn passes to attend. We immediately signed up! Unfortunately, in March we learned that my cancer had spread to my liver and that I would be starting chemotherapy soon. I contacted the lady in charge of festival volunteers and let her know that we were uncertain of what would be happening in July and asked to be removed from her volunteer list. I started chemo and everything in life continued on. On the inside, I was really sad to have to miss this concert and to force Jesse to miss something that I knew would mean so much to him. It seems so silly to be pouting about a concert when you consider that we are battling cancer, but I knew that it would be a bright spot in an otherwise difficult time in our lives.
During the HDG camping trip in June, somehow this topic came up around the campfire. It was suggested that maybe someone else could do the volunteer hours for the festival but that the tickets to attend could be given to Jesse and I. I couldn't even believe the suggestion! What an incredibly kind idea. I gave the contact information for the lady in charge of the volunteers to Stacy Hardee, our Board Treasurer, and set aside the idea. A few days later while driving home I got a call from Stacy. She informed me that she had made arrangements for volunteers to work at the festival and that Jesse and I would be going to the concert. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I immediately broke into tears. Somehow, by the kindness of the people in this group, I was going to see my favorite band, in my favorite place in the world!
In order for this to happen, Stacy Hardee, Audrey Kiser and Sue Kiser had to work long hours in the hot mountain sun. I cannot fully express how grateful I am for their kindness. They gave up their weekend, spent money on travel and hotels and then were rewarded for all of that by baking in the sun. I am so humbled by their friendship.
On Saturday, July 9th, a dream I have had for years but never expected to happen came true. For 2 ½ hours, this band that I loved put on an incredible show, in my beloved Telluride. I was able to be there with Jesse and savor every minute of it. For 2 ½ hours I felt completely alive and happy. All of my burdens were put aside. For 2 ½ hours I forgot that I have stage IV cancer and that I am in a battle for my life. I just sang along, cried tears of joy, and treasured every second of it. How can I ever say thank you for that? I can't, but my heart is full. The people that make up Humanists Doing Good are truly kind, beautiful people. We are all lucky to know each other.
Stacy, Audrey and Sue, thank you.