Original Letter to the Editor, Gunnison Country Times
Nov. 5, 2020


A few weeks ago I was one of the first people to have a breast MRI at Gunnison Valley Hospital (GVH) with the new equipment purchased by Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough To Wear Pink (CD TETWP). For 40 minutes I laid in the MRI machine as it loudly took images and I was overwhelmed with raw emotion.

For six years I have had the honor of being the executive director of CD TETWP and one of our biggest goals has been to carry out the vision that Dean Dillon set forth to be the best small town breast cancer hospital in the U.S. This vision from a passionate man with the hugest heart was on my mind and it was gratifying to think about all the goals that TETWP and GVH have accomplished together. Finally, we have the best equipment, physicians and technicians in place so that no one has to leave the valley to get any diagnostic breast screenings or biopsies. This is huge for our community and it made me reflect on all the challenges and efforts of so many people to accomplish this goal.

As I laid there listening to country music mixed with the loud sounds of the MRI, I thought about the 1 in 8 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer. I thought about my close friends who have been through breast cancer and all of the women who will be in that MRI machine who are facing fears of a cancer diagnosis. I thought about the brave women who have beaten cancer and need an MRI to make sure that the brutal, unwanted disease has not returned. It felt good to know that these women will no longer have to take an entire day to drive out of town to get their 3D tomo mammogram, ultrasound or MRI screenings.

So many people have poured their time, energy and money into what is proven to be one of the most incredible local organizations in the Gunnison Valley. TETWP perfectly represents what this beautiful community can accomplish. Everyone in this community should be proud of TETWP. Its success is fueled by the passionate people who call the Gunnison Valley home. I am talking about people who live here full time, part-time and some that only visit once a year. TETWP has become a big family and the connections are strong. From the songwriters who come from Nashville to perform at our fundraisers, to our local and national sponsors, to the many hard-working volunteers, to the generous donors, to the incredible people working at our local hospital, to the Cattlemen’s Days Rodeo committee, and to all the people affected by cancer in this valley. There are so many people to thank for their dedication and generosity. TETWP is an inspirational team, full of love, and I am grateful for each and every one of you!

Heidi Sherratt
Executive Director,
Cattlemen’s Days Tough Enough To Wear Pink Gunnison