Denver Actors Fund in Action: Danielle Hermon Wood

"The Full Monty." Photo by Becky Toma.

Danielle Hermon Wood and the cast of ‘The Full Monty.” Photo by Becky Toma.

 

‘When I was diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome, I was sad, but I wasn’t going to let it bring me down.’

Aid recipient: Longmont actor Danielle Hermon Wood was nominated for a Henry Award for her performance as The Lady of the Lake in Inspire Theatre Company’s 2016 production of “Spamalot” at the PACE Center in Parker. She is currently performing there as Vicki in Parker Arts and Sasquatch Productions’ “The Full Monty” through Aug. 4. Wood has played leading roles with regional opera houses in the United States, Japan, and Singapore, and even performed backup for Sting in a SiriusXM concert in New York. Wood earned her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University and her master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music. “My greatest passions in life are being a mother to my vivacious 9-year-old daughter, music, and theatre,” she said.

Danielle Hermon Wood as Vicki in 'The Full Monty.' Photo by Allen Jimenez.

Danielle Hermon Wood as Vicki in ‘The Full Monty.’ Photo by Allen Jimenez.

Her medical story: Danielle was diagnosed with Lynch syndrome back in 2012. Lynch syndrome is genetic marker that reveals a person’s inherited predisposition to develop different types of cancers. When a person is identified as having Lynch syndrome, they are urged to take proactive preventative measures. In May, Wood was advised to undergo a full hysterectomy, which she did. Danielle’s out-of-pocket responsibility after insurance is $3,461.06.  Moving forward, she will need to be aggressive about her regularity in having certain diagnostic tests that could be life-saving – but also will put a constant financial strain on her life. Danielle is a divorced mother whose pay and hours as Music Director and Marketing Director at a school in Boulder were recently drastically reduced.

How we have helped Danielle: Danielle received $500 from her former employer to help pay down the bill. The Denver Actors Fund Board of Directors has voted unanimously to pay off the rest of the bill, or $2,961.06. The Board is keeping her case open because of expected expenses she will incur from additional upcoming medical procedures.

Update: In September, Danielle received an additional surgical bill for $1,158, which we have paid. That brings the total support to Wood from from The Denver Actors Fund to $4,119.

How you can help us replenish: Often in cases like Danielle’s, this is where we would give you the opportunity to help us help Danielle more, especially given her uncertain financial situation at present. But instead, Danielle says, “I would rather have any additional donations go to The Denver Actors Fund, so you can decide where they should go.” If you would like to help us replenish by making a donation to The Denver Actors Fund, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO, 80211. Or use this donation link.

A message from Danielle: “When I was diagnosed with Lynch Syndrome, I was sad, but I wasn’t going to let it bring me down. It wasn’t a cancer diagnosis, but having this syndrome meant my chance of getting many different cancers in the future were very high. I was thankful that I found out so I could have tests done every year to catch ‘bad news’ early. Since 2012, I have had medical bill after medical bill. I finally had to do my big procedure, a complete hysterectomy, this year. I was scared, but I was ready. Then, two months before my surgery, my job made cutbacks and my salary was drastically reduced. It was then that I thought I would apply for help from The Denver Actors Fund. I followed this non-profit on Facebook because one of my past voice students, Darrow Klein, has raised a lot of money for them in the past. (See photo below.) I couldn’t believe it when The Denver Actors Fund called me to say they would help me with my large hospital bill. It was heaven-sent! They called right before one of my final dress rehearsals for ‘The Full Monty.’ Many of my cast members rejoiced and cried with me. I promise that I will do everything I can to promote this wonderful foundation, and I hope many others will consider donating in the future.”

Toward that end: Kelly McAllister and August Stoten of Sasquatch Productions will set up a table during the final two weekends of “The Full Monty” run to raise additional funds for The Denver Actors Fund, with our humble thanks. So if you are going to the show, look for that table! Click here for ticket information.

The Denver Actors Fund has now made more than $385,000 available to Colorado artists in medical need.

Read testimonials from other Denver Actors Fund beneficiaries here

Note: At The Denver Actors Fund, anonymity of aid recipients is presumed and fully protected, unless and until the recipient chooses to have their story told.

 


ABOUT THE DENVER ACTORS FUND:

The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in medical need. In addition to $385,000 in financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers have offered good neighborly assistance to more than 100 beneficiaries including meal prep and delivery, child care, transportation, errands, construction, pet-sitting and more. For more information, visit our web site at DenverActorsFund.Org.


HOW TO APPLY FOR AID:

To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Fill out this brief online form here


MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE ONLINE:

Go to our online giving site at: ColoradoGives.Org

DONATE BY MAIL:

Send checks made out to The Denver Actors Fund to:
P.O. Box 11182
Denver, CO 80211

VOLUNTEER:

Ever thought about taking a more active role in The Denver Actors Fund? Click here for more information

COME TO OUR EVENTS:
Friends, we at The Denver Actors Fund believe in building community while building funds. Most of our events are performative in nature so that you have a good time while helping a good cause. Here are some of the events that are currently being planned on our behalf. Visit denveractorsfund.org anytime for an updated list.

COME TO THE EVENTS THAT SUPPORT US:

SEPTEMBER 16: Firehouse Theatre Company has designated its Monday, September 16, Industry Night performance of “Three Tall Women” as a Denver Actors Fund night. Tickets are just $15 and proceeds will go to DAF. “Three Tall Women” is Edward Albee’s 1994 Pulitzer-winner, a modern masterpiece about a woman in her 90s who reflects on her husband’s affairs and the estrangement of her gay son with a mixture of shame, pleasure, regret and satisfaction. It features Judy Phelan-Hill, Donna Louden, Kate Poling and Kevin Douglas. Directed by Julie Kaye Wolf. Call 303-562-3232 to reserve your seats!

SEPTEMBER 20-22: Ovation West (formerly Evergreen Chorale), will continue its tradition of donating a portion of all ticket sales from a designated weekend of its production of “Cabaret” to the Denver Actors Fund. Kander & Ebb’s classic musical is set in a 1920s Berlin nightclub starring Miss Sally Bowles, where an American writer is coming of age and an era of indulgence and ambiguity are coming to an end with the rise of the Nazi Party. Musical numbers include “Willkommen” and “Don’t Tell Mama.” Starring Abby Kate Herron as Sally Bowles, Kalond Irlanda as the Emcee and Brian Caplan as Cliff and and Directed by Christopher Willard, Musical Direction by Christine Gaudreau and Patrick Lee, and Choreography by Christina Caplan. 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday at Center Stage, 27608 Fireweed Drive, Evergreen. Tickets at 303-674-4002 or ovationwest.org.

Gin TonixSUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 22: Jason Spillman and his family band “Gin & Tonix” are playing at the Clocktower Cabaret and donating 10 percent of total tickets sales to The Denver Actors Fund. Gin & Tonix, a group of talented musicians who have made music together for many years, features the harmonies of Morgan Griego, Kacie Thomas, Trinity Thomas and Eileen Adair, backed by Madi Spillman on guitar, Ian Spillman on drums and vocals, and Jason Spillman on bass and vocals. Gin & Tonix will be performing songs by Pentatonix, The Indigo Girls, The Eagles, The Avett Brothers and more. This is expected to be a sold-out show so reserve your seat now. Tickets are $20. Show starts at 7 p.m. at 16th and Arapahoe streets on the 16th Street Mall.

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 30: “Miscast,” which is presented each year by Robert Michael Sanders as a benefit for The Denver Actors Fund, is an opportunity for local performers to sing songs and act out scenes they would never … ever! … get cast to perform on any legit stage. Think gender-bending, race-bending and age-bending. Odd couples and mixed groups. Wrong is oh so right. “Miscast” has evolved over the years into one of the biggest nights of the year in the Colorado theatre community – and it is a really good show. “Miscast 2019” will be held Sept. 30 at a new location: The Aurora Fox Arts Center. Tickets are available right now.

Barton BrothersWEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9: Our friends at Miners Alley Playhouse are hosting an Industry Night performance of its hit musical “Once” with ALL PROCEEDS benefiting the Denver Actors Fund. Tickets, normally up to $32, are just $15 when you use Promo Code DAF. “‘Once’ is the story of an Irish songwriter who is on the verge of giving up music altogether when a Czech immigrant walks into the bar, hears him play and refuses to let him abandon his guitar. “Once” is directed by Len Matheo and features John Hauser, Carmen Shedd, Joel Abelson, Allegra Ludwig Michael, Katie Jackson, Ellen Gauthier, Damon Guerassio, Nelson Walker, David Miller, Parker Fowler, Aaron Vega and Denis Berkfeldt. Join us at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 9. Tickets available by calling 303-935-3044 or going online here. Miners Alley Playhouse is located at 1224 Washington Avenue. Golden. Thank you to Len Matheo, Elizabeth Scott-Mckean, Jonathan Scott-Mckean, Lisa DeCaro, Bryanna Scott, the cast, crew and whoever kindly works the bar. It’s nights like these that make what we do possible!

MONDAY, OCTOBER 28: You know Jack Barton in the title roles of BDT Stage’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” and “Peter and the Starcatcher.” He’s also half of an infectious, high-energy dueling piano duet called The Barton Brothers, who mix piano-bar sing-along classics with updated contemporary covers and original songs. Jack and Dan Barton are classically trained pianists and childhood choir nerds who grew up sharing stereos, piano teachers and bunk beds, developing a familiar musical vocabulary from the beginning. They’ll be taking over the BDT Stage stage for one night only, and BDT will donate $5 from every $25 ticket sold to The Denver Actors Fund. BDT is one of our greatest community partners. Please help them to continue to help us in aiding the incredible artists who make BDT Stage and all Colorado theatre such a wonderful and vibrant community. Note: There will be an a la carte menu available, but no food is included with the ticket for this event. Starys and 7 p.m. at 5501 Arapahoe Ave., Boulder, GET TICKETS HERE

VISIT OUR ONLINE MERCH STORE:

Click here to see how you can buy DAF products such as T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more

Denver Actors Fund in Action: Beki Pineda

BEKI PINEDA

‘Dr. Kelly listened to my tale, heard my fear, and responded in the gentlest voice possible: ‘Let’s get you a smile you can share.’ “

Aid recipient: Properties Director Beki Pineda, who was given the Colorado Theatre Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Henry Awards, has been an active member of the Colorado theatre community since the early 1980s. She started as a volunteer at the Bonfils Theatre on East Colfax Avenue before building her trade in properties for countless theater companies. Beki, who turned 80 last year, worked on the making of 10 theatrical productions in 2019 alone, including Vintage Theatre’s “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” and Firehouse Theater’s “Outside Mullingar.” She is also the longtime Box Office Manager at Denver School of the Arts, where she has helped organize ongoing collections for The Denver Actors Fund.

Her medical story: We’ve helped Beki in a number of ways over the years, including buying her new eyeglasses ($325) and hooking her up with our partnering dentist, Brian Kelly DDS, for his help on a minor dental matter (a service valued at $182.) Then Beki’s world was rocked at when a fainting spell led to a breast-cancer diagnosis. She has since undergone surgery for successive mastectomies.

How we have helped Beki: As Beki convalesced from surgery, Denver Actors Fund Volunteer Coordinator Kristen Samu arranged for a team to help Beki recover, starting with several weeks of meals delivered to her apartment and other assistance. By the end of 2019, The Denver Actors Fund had provided Beki with $3,089 in overall medical assistance, including $744 for the cost of her new prosthetic breasts.

A message from Beki: “Words you pray you’ll never hear: ‘You have cancer.’ So casually spoken – so heartbreakingly heard. A few tears are allowed, and then you pull up your big-girl panties and say, ‘OK, let’s take care of this little problem.’ When my surgeon explained that the top half of my right breast was ‘fully engaged,’ I asked her if the bottom half was just dating? She responded with. ‘Oh, you’re going to be just fine.’ If you want to know the true definition of a village, try getting sick in this theatre community! Best friends, casual acquaintances and people from years past all rallied around to fill my fridge and offer rides. They called to check on me, share their experiences and send prayers. The Denver Actors Fund’s volunteer angels stepped up and came through the way they always do. What an amazing gift it has been to have The Denver Actors Fund on my side through this whole ordeal. I am so happy happy to report that the cancer is gone, with no need for chemo. Dr. Julie Barone literally saved my life by discovering a second cancer that didn’t show up on any of the tests and caught it before it could do any lasting damage. I feel I have been spared for a reason … maybe to help make The Denver Actors Fund stronger and more productive than ever. God bless you, everyone!”

Smile! In 2020, it was time for Beki to face the culmination of years of dental neglect. As mentioned above, The Denver Actors Fund has a partnering dentist in Dr. Brian Kelly DDS, who accepts a limited number of emergency cases each year as his personal, in-kind donation to The DAF with his associates at the Dental Center at Thornton Plaza. Dr. Kelly performed all of the necessary work Beki needed, including 11 extractions. The value of Dr. Kelly’s services to a regular patient would have come to $5,714. Instead, no money changed hands, other than an additional $676 outside lab bill that The DAF has covered. Beki paid nothing, making the overall value of her latest dental treatment $6,390. To date, the total value of Dr. Kelly’s service to the Denver Actors Fund is more than $70,000 since 2017. It’s no wonder that, last month, 5280 Magazine included Dr. Kelly among Denver’s top dentists as chosen by his peers for the 12th year in a row. He is himself a dancer and a veteran of four Broadway productions.

Grand total: The Denver Actors Fund has now provided Beki with $9,479 in overall medical assistance.

How Beki has helped us: In addition to being a longtime monthly donor to The Denver Actors Fund, Beki is among our original and most steadfast Action Team volunteers. She played a vital role in helping us to transform actor Russell Costen’s low-income apartment while he was in the hospital recovering from lung-cancer surgery. When we put the call out for drivers to help actor Gregory Alan West, who needed long-term transportation to and from rehab appointments following heart and kidney transplants, Beki was one of three volunteers who drove Gregory three times a week for more than four months. And she was a primary helper when The Denver Actors Fund helped actor Abner Genece recuperate at home following a near-fatal car accident. In each case, the DAF beneficiary has been younger than Beki.

How you can help us help Beki more: At age 81 and coming off two major surgeries, Beki’s financial situation is at best, uncertain. If you would like to direct a specific donation to help give her some financial breathing room, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund (with Beki Pineda’s name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO, 80211. Or use this donation link. If you use the online option, be sure to designate that your donation is a targeted donation for Beki Pineda. (She will receive 100 percent of your donation.) Otherwise, your donation will be applied to the replenishment of The Denver Actors Fund’s general fund.

Words of thanks for Dr. Kelly: “A dentist’s appointment to an old-schooler like me conjures up memories of needles, that horrible noise the drills used to make, spitting out enamel … and pain. Imagine my surprise to enter the 21st Century of dentistry on recent visits to the offices of Dr. Brian Kelly, a bright angel of The DAF. All those years of gig work in order to do theatre had led to neglect of my dental health compounded by being born with extended canines, which had earned me the nickname ‘Bucky’ at an early age. Dr. Kelly listened to my tale, heard my fear and responded in the gentlest voice possible – ‘Let’s get you a smile you can share.’ He has done just that. On the big day of ‘old teeth out – new teeth in,’ he loaned me his personal ear buds, turned on some Broadway tunes and sang to me as he went to work. By efficiently and painlessly removing the bad teeth, he was able to create a set of new teeth for me that makes me smile in the mirror every time I see them. All in one day. I didn’t have to walk around toothless for a month. in ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven,’ Mitch Albom proposes that in Heaven you will meet five people who have had a significant impact on your life. I’m lucky enough to know that I don’t have to wait till I get to Heaven to meet one of them.”

The Denver Actors Fund has now made more than $606,000 available to Colorado artists in medical need.

Read testimonials from other Denver Actors Fund beneficiaries here

Note: At The Denver Actors Fund, anonymity of aid recipients is presumed and fully protected, unless and until the recipient chooses to have their story told.


HOW TO MAKE A DONATION


ABOUT THE DENVER ACTORS FUND:

The Denver Actors Fund is a modest source of immediate, situational relief when members of the local theater community find themselves in medical need. In addition to $606,000 in financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers have offered good neighborly assistance to more than 100 beneficiaries including meal prep and delivery, child care, transportation, errands, construction, pet-sitting and more. For more information, visit our web site at DenverActorsFund.Org.


HOW TO APPLY FOR AID:

To apply for Denver Actors Fund aid: Fill out this brief online form here


NEW: AFFORDABLE MENTAL HEALTH CARE:

The Denver Actors Fund has announced a major new collaboration with the Maria Droste Counseling Center of Colorado to provide affordable, professional health care to any qualifying Colorado theatre artist who needs it. CLICK HERE FOR INFORMATION


GET INSTANT, FREE MEDICAL ADVICE: The Denver Actors Fund has launch of a major new FREE medical service for qualified Colorado theatre artists: We are partnering with Hippo Health to provide access to emergency medical evaluations via video conferencing with a Board-certified physician. Click to read more about this wonderful, innovative new partnership that will further improve the lives of artists!


MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE ONLINE:

Go to our online giving site at: ColoradoGives.Org

DONATE BY MAIL:

Send checks made out to The Denver Actors Fund to:
P.O. Box 11182
Denver, CO 80211

VOLUNTEER:

Ever thought about taking a more active role in The Denver Actors Fund? Click here for more information


SHOP AT KING SOOPERS

Sign up for King Soopers’ Community Rewards Program and raise money for The DAF just by shopping for your groceries – and it doesn’t cost you an extra penny. It’s like the Amazon Smile Program. To sign up, simply go here and designate The DAF as your preferred non-profit. Each quarter, King Soopers sends us a donation based on how much our supporters have spent. Thanks to all of you who are shopping for The DAF.


VISIT OUR ONLINE MERCH STORE:

Click here to see how you can buy DAF products such as T-shirts, key chains, puzzles and much more.