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Terry Smith: A Journey of Compassion and Volunteerism at Shaw

“Part of the reason I volunteer is to give back to Shaw for the excellent care I received,” says Terry Smith.

Since 2022, Terry Smith has supported staff and patients in the Vail Health Shaw Cancer Center Infusion Room. She takes a load off the nurses and other staff by cleaning infusion chairs, changing pillowcases, and ensuring warm blankets are ready for patients, which helps the staff focus on direct patient care. “I’m there as extra help one day every week, providing anything from food, drinks, or just a little conversation,” she says. “Whatever the patients need to make them feel more comfortable.”

As a breast cancer survivor who received treatment at Shaw, Terry knows firsthand the challenges that patients encounter. This shared experience and the exceptional care she received propelled her journey to give back as a volunteer and benefactor.

From Patient to Volunteer

Terry’s connection to Vail Health began when she underwent routine annual breast exams and, ultimately, cancer surgery with Dr. Reginald Franciose, whom medical acquaintances from Denver recommended. In 2017, her battle with breast cancer brought her closer to Shaw’s comprehensive care, where she underwent surgery and radiation treatment. Terry and her husband, Dan, were moved by Shaw’s holistic approach; while she received treatment, they benefited from the Spirit of Survival program, which provided nutrition consultation, access to a fitness center, and more, free of charge.

Today, Terry is cancer-free and continues to be active in the community. When she sought ways to give back that didn’t require her to sit at a desk, she contacted Terri Dvorkin with the Vail Health Volunteer Corp, who helped place her in the very busy infusion room. “I have too much energy to sit at a desk!” laughs Terry.

She’s grateful to give back to the place that helped save her life. “I received great care at Shaw from the whole staff, so this is just a little payback.”

Dedication to Service and Philanthropy

The Smiths, who have lived in the Vail Valley for more than two decades, are enjoying an active lifestyle in retirement. Terry dedicated a decade to volunteering on the Eagle County Library District board. She also serves as the secretary of the Vail Valley Cares/Thrift Shop Board.

Dan served as a Vail Mountain Rescue mission coordinator for nearly 20 years. He continues volunteering with the Salvation Army, assisting emergency personnel by providing them with food during significant events like fighting large, multi-day fires. Terry often joins him, even in the early morning hours, supporting his efforts in coordinating the mobile kitchen. Additionally, Dan also serves as Chairman of Eagle County Paramedic services.

Every year, the couple helps distribute toys to children through the Vail Valley Salvation Army. They are also committed to supporting Shaw Cancer Center through estate giving.

Encouraging New Volunteers

As the Vail Health Volunteer Corps celebrates 40 years this year, Terry encourages people who are seeking ways to give back to learn more about becoming a volunteer.

For Terry, serving in the Volunteer Corps is gratifying. “Helping someone else also helps me,” she says.  She loves that she can offer comfort to patients undergoing cancer treatment and stresses that there are opportunities for everyone who wants to give back.

“If somebody’s looking for something to do in the community, there’s an opportunity at Vail Health.”Terry Smith

Our volunteers are instrumental in enhancing the well-being of our patients, guests, and staff.


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