Denver Actors Fund in Action: Amy Arpan

Amy Arpan QUOTE 800

‘It’s powerful medicine to know there are great people out there in the world,’ says the actor

Aid recipient: Amy Arpan is an actor and circus choreographer who most recently appeared as Mrs. Soames in Miners Alley Playhouse’s March production of “Our Town.” She is also the owner and principal performer at Amy Arpan’s Illusions And Confusions. She is the sister of area actor, director and choreographer Piper Arpan.

Amy Arpan and Lisa DeCaro in Miners Alley Playhouse’s 2017 ‘Les Liaisons Dangereuses.’ Photo by Matthew Gale.

Her medical story: Amy recently needed a difficult emergency surgery at Denver Health. Despite having (lousy) insurance, Amy was led to believe that her patient responsibility for the surgery would eventually land at more than a whopping $30,000. But over the next two months, that bill never came due. Instead, Amy and her husband, Chris Morrison, took on most of expenses associated with her surgery themselves, including a $500 E.R. bill. The largest expense was a bill for $2,846 to cover the services of four individual specialists who participated in her surgery. The DAF paid that bill off and, as time passed, the couple began to believe that maybe that was then end of it. It wasn’t. On June 5, the other shoe dropped. Amy received an actual, post-insurance bill for an additional $33,605.

How we have helped: First, The Denver Actors Fund board paid the full amount of Amy’s initial hospital bill, or $2,846. When the more recent bill arrived, Amy was shell-shocked. The hospital set her up on a payment plan that essentially called for her to pay $332 a month in perpetuity. Amy was resigned to her fate. But we offered legal counsel and referred her for advice to new DAF Board Member Dr. Kelli Lewis, who completed her own Emergency Medicine residency at the very same Denver Health. We suggested Amy apply for Medicaid – but she and her husband would have had to have made less than $24,000 last year (combined) to qualify for any assistance. We then encouraged Amy and her sister, to challenge the bill with both Denver Health and her insurance company. And they did. Long story short: It was found that there had been an accounting error, and Amy’s bill was reduced from $33,605  to “just” $11,970. The Denver Actors Fund Board subsequently authorized an additional $7,000 gift to Arpan and her husband, bringing her deficit down to just under $5,000. This second gift represents the largest single payput in Denver Actors Fund history. Between the two DAF gifts and $175 in targeted donations received from the community to date (see more below), The Denver Actors Fund has now made $10,021 available to Amy Arpan.

How you can help us help Amy more: Amy and her husband still owe $5,000 from this unexpected emergency odyssey. If you would like to direct a specific donation to help give them more financial breathing room, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund (with Amy Arpan’s name written in the topic field), to P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80212. Or use this donation link. If you use the online option, be sure to designate that your donation is a targeted donation for Amy Arpan. (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.

How you can help us replenish: At The Denver Actors Fund, we love it when the money goes out as fast as it comes in, which means we are in a constant state of replenishment. That’s the gig. If you would like to help us do that, simply mail checks in any amount made out to Denver Actors Fund at P.O. Box 11182, Denver, CO 80211. Or use this donation link.

A message from Amy Arpan and Chris Morrison: “Thank you, Denver Actors Fund, for looking out for those of us who choose to make our own way in the world of performing. To those of you who donate to it and to those of you who run it: Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for my health. Chris and I have never been more grateful.” (Read the full text below)

The Denver Actors Fund has now made more than $365,000 available to Colorado artists in medical need.

Read testimonials from other Denver Actors Fund beneficiaries here

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


Amy Arpan and Chris Morrison ER selfie

Amy Arpan and Chris Morrison’s ER selfie.

“I have three main memories of the night my husband drove me to the E.R. at 3 a.m. The first is of the pain – like nothing I’d ever felt before. It was all-consuming, and I just needed it to stop. The second is of the overwhelming concern in my husband’s eyes as he stayed by my side to comfort me. The third is of me telling the E.R. doctor: “I don’t think our insurance is very good, so if something isn’t necessary, please don’t do it.” These are memories I hope none of you ever have to have. They are terrifying. They are embarrassing.

On Day 2 of recovery after emergency surgery, we were visited by a financial adviser in our hospital room. She wanted to make us aware that the amount we would owe would come to around $30,000. It felt like someone had punched us. It felt like getting better was pointless. Ten weeks after we got home, we got our first bill. It was close to $3,000. For all we knew, there might be more on the way.

Then we contacted The Denver Actors Fund, and they let us know they would pay off that first bill in full. “In full?” I thought I’d misheard. We were stunned. That call from The Denver Actors Fund was as welcome and as emotionally uplifting as the call I got from the hospital telling me the mass they had removed was benign.

We don’t have enough meaningful words to thank The Denver Actors Fund – I think even Shakespeare would have a rough go at it. My husband and I feel like we can breathe again. I feel like fighting to get better is worth it again. It’s powerful medicine to know that there ARE great people out there in the world.

Thank you, Denver Actors Fund, for looking out for those of us who choose to make our own way in the world of performing. To those of you who donate to it and to those of you who run it: Thank you for your generosity. Thank you for my health. Chris and I have never been more grateful.”


Amy Arpan on stilts at the auto fair for her company, 'lllusions and Confusions.'.

Amy Arpan on stilts at the auto fair for her company, ‘Illusions and Confusions.’



To DONATE to the Denver Actors Fund, please CLICK HERE (with our humble thanks)


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 $365,000 in financial relief, a team of more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers has 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.


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



Send checks made out to the Denver Actors Fund to:
P.O. Box 11182
Denver, CO 80212


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


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 anytime for an updated list.

THURSDAY, JULY 11: Join Eric Weinstein as he takes you on a journey of songs and stories from the three decades he has been part of the Denver theatre community. The evening will feature Ragtime and Stride piano solos that were a mainstay of the venerable Heritage Square Music Hall, hits from Vintage favorite shows “Ring of Fire” and :Ain’t Misbehavin’,” original music and a variety of musical styles. He will be joined by daughters Kaitlin and Kelsey, and performers Hazel Kachline, Adam Luhrs and Isabella Duran. One hundred percent of ticket sales will benefit The Denver Actors Fund. 7:30 p.m. at the Vintage Theatre, 1468 Dayton St., Aurora. Tickets at the door.


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