Fundraiser to benefit Steamboat woman with nerve disorder
February 24, 2012
Steamboat Springs — On good days, local resident Meredith Herndon is her cheery self. She jokes and laughs, lightening the mood for everyone around her.
On bad days, the pain from a rare nerve disorder can bring her to her knees.
For four years, Herndon has suffered from atypical trigeminal Neuralgia, an illness that sends near constant waves of pain through the nerves and muscles in her face.
"It's very, very painful pretty much 24 hours a day," Herndon explained. "And any major weather change, wind, chewing, smiling, are all triggers. And those are all part of daily life here in Steamboat."
At Yampa Valley Medical Center, where Herndon works in the culinary department, her friend and co-chef Diane Townes watched her suffer.
"It's hard to work side by side with her and see her going through the pain that she does and not being able to help," Townes said. "No one knew what to do."
But in November 2011, a ray of hope appeared. Herndon was cleared to receive complicated brain surgery from the Pittsburgh Presbyterian Hospital that could help relieve the pain. The surgery is scheduled for mid-March.
"Up until this past November, the previous couple of months were starting to be very depressing," she said. "And my personality is usually very upbeat.
"Now that it's less than three weeks away, I'm a little nervous about it, and I hope to God it really works. In my mind, it's got to work."
Townes organized a fundraiser for her friend to help with the expenses associated with taking months off work to recover from the surgery.
The event takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. Thursday at Olympian Hall at Howelsen Hill Lodge. There will be food, drinks, door prizes, a drawing and a silent auction featuring items including jewelry, artwork, gift certificates and ski gear. There is a suggested $20 donation at the door for adults and $5 for children.
Townes said she was humbled at how the community stepped up to help Herndon.
"The support from our community, people reaching out, is amazing," she said. "The hospital is donating the food, and it's amazing how much YVMC is backing this. I couldn't do it without them."
Herndon said she was surprised when she learned about the fundraiser. Ever since the pain first started, she said she's had a wealth of support from everyone around her.
"I've been determined not to let the pain take anything away from my life," she said. "The hospital's been so fantastic, and everyone's been so supportive. It's just our community."
To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com