Denver Actors Fund in Action: Marq Del Monte

 

IMG_1662Marq Del Monte, second from right, appeared in John Moore’s play, “Maureen Dowd’s Dark, Delicious Descent into Denver Hell, An Edible Cautionary Tale,” as part of The Mile High 24 Play Festival on June 2 at the Spark Theatre. From left: Lindsey I. Benge, Deb Flomberg, Karen Kargel, Del Monte and Desiree Phillips.

 

Note: At the 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.

Financial-aid recipient: Marq Del Monte is an actor and playwright who in June appeared in John Moore’s play, “Maureen Dowd’s Dark, Delicious Descent into Denver Hell, An Edible Cautionary Tale,” as part of The Mile High 24 Play Festival. On Aug. 30, The Wit Theatre Company hosted a reading of Del Monte’s one-act play, “The Almighty, Low.” In the play, an exasperated God washes his hands of his children on Earth until Satan himself shows up to convince his adversary to “put the gloves back on and duke it out.”

 His family story: Del Monte’s wife, Debbie, was laid off from her job on Aug. 22, leaving her uninsured. On Sept. 10, she was diagnosed with a brain cancer that had traveled from an undetected breast cancer. She next receiving chemo and radiation for Metastatic Carcinoma while awaiting surgery. After the diagnosis, Debbie was added to Marq’s health insurance with Kaiser Permanente from his job with Freeway Ford. Still, the Del Montes need all the help they can get to pay rent and other bills.

How we have helped: The Denver Actors Fund approved a $499 grant to help the Del Montes cover their rent for October, followed by an additional $200. The family later received meals and other assistance from the DAF’s Action Team volunteers.

A message from Marq Del Monte: “We are facing a pretty serious financial situation, and the Denver Actors Fund was generous enough to give us a grant. We are extremely grateful!”

To help us help the Del Montes more: If you would like to donate to the Denver Actors Fund, see below. If you would like to direct a specific donation to help Marq Del Monte and his family, mail checks in his name to Denver Actors Fund, 4594 Osceola St., Denver, CO 80212.

Update: In May 2019, The Denver Actors Fund paid Marq $382 to buy new eyeglasses, bringing the total of our support for his family to $1,081.

Read more Denver Actors Fund testimonials by clicking here

 

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 financial relief, a team og more than 60 Denver Actors Fund volunteers offers good neighborly assistance including meal prep and delivery, child care, transportation, errands, construction, pet-sitting and more. For more information, visit our web site at www.DenverActorsFund.Org

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

To DONATE the Denver Actors Fund: Please go here (with our humble thanks):

APPLY FOR AID:

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

 

MORE WAYS TO HELP:

DONATE BY MAIL:

Send checks made out to the Denver Actors Fund to:
4594 Osceola St.
Denver, CO 80212

 

COME TO OUR FUNDRAISING EVENTS:

Sept. 29: Miscast 2014, Directed by Robert Michael Sanders at the Aurora Fox. Click here for details and tickets.

Dec 8 and 15: “BALLS! A Holiday Spectacular” will perform at Lannie’s Clocktower Cabaret. Click here for details and tickets.

 

SHOP AT AMAZONSMILE:

Denver Actors Fund

 

BUY A POSTER!
poster1.4_Cross 134 women (and a few token dudes) from the Colorado theater community, all supporting the Denver Actors Fund. They cost $20 per poster (20×28). To order, email your quantity to denveractorsfund@gmail.com. We’ll take care of delivery and payment from there.

 

 

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

 

Video: See highlights from a Feb. 10 fundraiser held on behalf of the Denver Actors Fund:

 

Photos: Shelly Bordas benefit performances raise money, lift hearts

The video above is Part 2 from my ongoing video documentary, “The Shelly Bordas Story.”

 

By John Moore
March 4, 2013

Back-to-back benefits for Shelly Bordas on Sunday and Monday nights brought grassroots fundraising efforts to help the cancer-stricken Denver mother, teacher and actor to nearly $30,000.

On Sunday, a concert organized by Mitch Samu was held at the Columbine United Church in Littleton. Some of the theater community’s most accomplished singers offered an evening of pop songs, Broadway tunes and spirituals. Featured performers included Joanie Brosseau, Sarah Rex, Megan Van De Hey, Thad Valdez, Ryan Belinak, Colin Hearn, Barry Brown, Kristen Samu and Tag Worley. The guest speaker was the church’s pastor, Steve Poos-Benson.

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On Monday, a benefit performance of the Broadway musical “9 to 5” was held at the Littleton Town Hall Arts Center, where Bordas still teaches youth theater classes when she is up for it.

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Both events were “pay what you can.” Sunday’s event raised $1,500; Monday’s another $2,400.

Before Monday’s performance, Denver actor, director and photographer Sarah Roshan presented Bordas with a check for $15,000. That’s the first payout from a fundraising web site Roshan started on GoGetFunding.Com to help defray Bordas’ medical costs, and help establish a college trust for her son, Nathan, who turns 4 next month.

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Bordas has been battling breast cancer since 2009. In December 2012, she learned it has spread to her brain. Doctors have told her they cannot guarantee her a year, or even a week.

Bordas, who was hospitalized for five days last week with a blood infection, was able to attend the first half of Sunday’s benefit concert with her son, Nathan, and the first act of “9 to 5” the next night. At Monday’s benefit, Bordas expressed both her gratitude and embarrassment for all the love that has been flowing her way these past two months.

What got all of these fundraising efforts started was Bordas having to drop out of “9 to 5” to spend as much of her remaining time as possible with her son. She mentioned to the cast that her immediate goal was to take her son on a Disney cruise, “because I need to see that happen.” On Monday, she said she has booked a week-long Disney cruise to the Caribbean launching May 4 to celebrate Nathan’s 4th birthday. She will be accompanied by a team of family and care-givers, all made possible by the generosity of donors from the theater community and around the world.

To learn more about Shelly Bordas’ story, please take a look at my ongoing video documentary, “The Shelly Bordas Story”:

Part 1: “Tit for Tot”
Part 2: “My Son Wins” (embedded at the top of the page)
Part 3 will focus on how the community has responded to Bordas’ illness.

Here’s how fundraising efforts have broken down to date:
GoGet Funding.Com fundraising page: $17,520
Checks mailed to Town Hall Arts Center: $6,000
Benefit performances (including a night of improv at Voodoo Comedy Playhouse): $4,170
Contribution from the family of late actor Doug Rosen: $2,000

Dani Nelson Everson, a hair stylist who has never met Bordas, will host a cut-a-thon to benefit Bordas from 4-6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 8 at Clementine’s Denver, 2009 W. 33rd Ave. Phone: 720-328-3594.

Note: the coordinator of all Shelly Bordas fundraising efforts is Kelly Kates. Her email is kateshouse@earthlink.net

Click here to subscribe to the CultureWest.org Monthly E-Newsletter

Photos, Part 1: Benefit performance of “9 to 5”:
All photos by John Moore for www.CultureWest.Org.

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Denver actor Sue Leiser presents Bordas with a production photo signed by the Los Angeles cast of “9 to 5,” currently featuring Denver native and Broadway veteran Beth Malone. They also sent a check for $150 that Malone had collected from L.A. cast members.

 

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Part of the “9 to 5” cast backstage, from left: Taylor Young, Rebekah Ortiz, Norrell Moore, Matthew D. Peters, Rae Klapperich, Melissa Morris and Rob Rehburg.

 

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Shelly Bordas with “9 to 5” director, and old friend, Christopher Willard.

 

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“9 to 5” cast member Matthew D. Peters is having way too much fun with the many readily available costumes backstage at the Town Hall Arts Center.

 

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Sarah Roshan presents Shelly Bordas with a $15,000 check from her fundraising page at GoGetFunding.com

 

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Denver actor Lisa Young.

 

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Margie Lamb, who plays Violet in “9 to 5,” left, with Denver actor Carla Kaiser Kotrc, who attended college with Shelly Bordas at Western State in Gunnison.

(Please click below to go to the next page and see more photos from Sunday’s benefit concert at Columbine United Church.)

Video: The Shelly Bordas Story, Part 2: “My Son Wins”

By John Moore
March 2, 2013

In this ongoing video documentary, veteran journalist John Moore chronicles Denver actor and mother Shelly Bordas’ journey since being diagnosed – for a second time – with Stage 4 breast cancer that has now spread to her brain. In Part 2, Shelly is hospitalized, has her 15th surgery, and faces tough decisions about her place in the Town Hall Arts Center’s staging of the Broadway musical, “9 to 5.” Run time: 8 minutes.

Watch Part 1 of our Shelly Bordas video documentary:
Video: The Shelly Bordas Story, Part 1: “Tit for Tot”

How to help Shelly Bordas:
In the past three weeks, friends have raised more than $20,000 to help Shelly Bordas, and there is plenty of need for it. With the start of the new year, Bordas has a huge new annual health-insurance deductible to chip away at; she just started a demanding new round of chemo; and Bordas has been told she is rapidly approaching her “lifetime insurance payout cap” — meaning that, at some point this year, her insurance company will cut her off. To help defray her medical expenses, and to help establish a college trust for Bordas’ nearly 4-year-old son, Nathan, click here.

Information on other upcoming fundraising efforts:
*A pay-what-you-can benefit concert organized by Mitch Samu will be held at 7 p.m. Sunday, March 3, at Columbine United Church, 6375 S. Platte Canyon Road, Littleton. Featured performers will include Joanie Beyette, Sarah Rex, Megan Van De Hey, Thad Valdez, Ryan Belinak, Colin Hearn, Kristen Samu, Tag Worley, Barry Brown and guest speaker Dr. Steve Poos-Benson. Tickets at the door. Child-care available.

*A “pay what you can” performance of “9 to 5” will be held at 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 4, with all funds going to Bordas. Tickets at the door, 2450 W. Main St., Littleton.

*Dani Nelson Everson, a hair stylist who has never met Bordas, owns the Clementine’s Denver, where she will host a cut-a-thon to benefit Bordas, from 4-6:30 p.m. on March 8 at 2009 W. 33rd Ave. Phone: 720-328-3594.

Previous reporting on this story:
The initial CultureWest.Org news report on Shelly’s story

Photo series: Opening night of Town Hall Arts Center’s “9 to 5”


The Bordas fund reaches $10,000 in first 24 hours

Shelly Bordas fundraising efforts hit $20,000 after first week


Kirk Montgomery’s “E-Block” report on Channel 9

Bonus coverage: Listen to my very funny “Running Lines” podcast episode with Shelly when she was appearing in Theatre Group’s 2006 production of “Debbie Does Dallas.” She played Lisa and was also the musical’s “cheerographer.”

Note: the coordinator of all Shelly Bordas fundraising efforts is Kelly Kates. Her email is kateshouse@earthlink.net

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Click here to subscribe to the CultureWest.org Monthly E-Newsletter

Photo series: “It’s Opening Night in Colorado Theater”: To see my ongoing gallery featuring one intimate, iconic snapshot from more than 30 opening nights (and counting), click here.

Video: The Shelly Bordas Story, Part 1: “Tit for Tot”

By John Moore
Feb. 21, 2013

In this ongoing video documentary, veteran journalist John Moore chronicles Denver actor and mother Shelly Bordas’ journey since being diagnosed – for a second time – with Stage 4 breast cancer that has now spread to her brain. Run time: 6 minutes.

Previous reporting on this story:
The initial CultureWest.Org news report on Shelly’s story


The Bordas fund reaches $10,000 in first 24 hours

Shelly Bordas fundraising efforts hit $20,000 after first week


Kirk Montgomery’s “E-Block” report on Channel 9

Bonus coverage: Listen to my very funny “Running Lines” podcast episode with Shelly when she was appearing in Theatre Group’s 2006 production of “Debbie Does Dallas.” She played Lisa and was also the musical’s “cheerographer.”

Note: the coordinator of all Shelly Bordas fundraising efforts is Kelly Kates. Her email is kateshouse@earthlink.net

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Click here to subscribe to the CultureWest.org Monthly E-Newsletter

Photo series: “It’s Opening Night in Colorado Theater”: To see my ongoing gallery featuring one intimate, iconic snapshot from more than 30 opening nights (and counting), click here.

Shelly Bordas fundraising efforts hit $20,000 after first week

Shelly Bordas with former "9 to 5" castmate Norrell Moore. Photo by John Moore for CultureWest.Org.

Shelly Bordas with former Town Hall Arts Center “9 to 5” castmate Norrell Moore. Photo by John Moore for CultureWest.Org. All rights reserved.

 

By John Moore
Feb. 18, 2013

When it was first suggested a week ago that friends of Shelly Bordas kick in a few bucks to send the cancer-stricken actor on a Disney Cruise with her son, they were simply asked to mail checks to the Town Hall Arts Center, where Bordas teaches youth theater classes and was set to perform in the upcoming musical “9 to 5.” That was, until her diagnosis was changed to terminal after it was discovered her breast cancer had spread to her brain.

What a week it has been.

Since then, her friend Sarah Roshan has created an online fundraising page that, as of midnight tonight, rested at $15,675 (not including PayPal processing fees). Now we have our first reports that about $4,500 already has been sent to Town Hall through the mail, bringing the total raised to help the beloved actor and mother to just more than $20,000 – “and more cards are coming in every day,” said “9 to 5” choreographer Kelly Kates.

“I am blown away,” Bordas told me in response. “Somewhere in my childhood, I must have done something right.”

On her Facebook page, Bordas added the following message:

First of all, that loud thump you heard was me fainting to the floor. I have no words. But second, I need you to know that I have 37 voice messages and over 400 emails to read and respond to. I want to get to you all, so please be patient as I get through these. My heart aches with love and gratefulness. Thank you, you incredible community. I love you so much.

Roshan has since raised the online goal to $25,000, and there is plenty of need for it. With the start of the new year, Bordas has a huge new annual health-insurance deductible she must start to chip away at, when her only present source of income is the classes she can teach at Town Hall only when she is strong enough to do so. And she just has started a demanding new round of chemo.

Bordas also has been told that, after nearly four years and 15 surgeries to combat cancer, she is rapidly approaching her “lifetime insurance payout cap” — meaning that at some point, her insurance company will cut her off.

Some of the money raised also will be set aside to establish a college trust for Bordas’ 3 1/2-year-old son, Nathan.

“Donors can rest assured that any money raised in excess of the vacation costs is still very necessary and will absolutely be put to good use,” said Bordas’ friend, actor Steve Burge.

Direct link to the Shelly Bordas fundraising page

Note: the coordinator of all Shelly Bordas fundraising efforts is Kelly Kates. Her email is kateshouse@earthlink.net

Previous reporting on this story:
The initial CultureWest.Org news report on Shelly’s story

The Bordas fund reaches $10,000 in first 24 hours


Kirk Montgomery’s “E-Block” report on Channel 9

Information on other upcoming fundraising efforts

*Voodoo Comedy Playhouse is donating all proceeds from its three shows on Wednesday, Feb. 20, to Shelly Bordas. Admission is $5. 1260 22nd St. in LoDo.

*Dani Nelson Everson, a hair stylist who has never met Bordas, owns a salon in the Highlands neighborhood. She will host a cut-a-thon, with all proceeds to benefit Bordas, from 4-6:30 p.m. on March 8 at Clementine’s Denver, 2009 W. 33rd Ave. Phone: 720-328-3594.

*The Town Hall Arts Center has announced a “pay what you can” performance of “9 to 5” on Monday, March 4, with all funds going to Bordas. Call 303-794-2787 for reservations.

Bonus coverage: Listen to my very funny “Running Lines” podcast episode with Shelly when she was appearing in Theatre Group’s 2006 production of “Debbie Does Dallas.” She played Lisa and was also the musical’s “cheerographer.”

Shelly Bordas supporters raise $10,000 in 24 hours

Shelly Bordas with her then infant son, Nathan. He's now 3 1/2.

Shelly Bordas with her then infant son, Nathan. He’s now 3 1/2.


UPDATE: As of 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 15, Shelly Bordas’ online fundraising page has raised $12,635 from 251 backers.

By John Moore
Feb. 13, 2013

Just 24 hours after the launch of an online fundraising page, friends and strangers have contributed more than $10,400 to help send Denver actor and teacher Shelly Bordas on a Disney cruise with her 3 1/2-year-old son, Nathan. And that doesn’t count checks that also may have been sent by mail.

Bordas, who has battled breast cancer since her pregnancy, was given a terminal diagnosis last week. “They can’t tell you that I am going to make it to next weekend. They can’t tell you that I am going to make a year,” she said. “But I am going to try.”

Bordas had been told in November that her tumors were shrinking, so she celebrated by auditioning for her first musical since her ordeal began in 2009 — landing the role of the drunk secretary in the Littleton Town Hall Arts Center’s “9 to 5,” opening Feb. 22.

But Bordas soon began to lose vision, which led doctors to discover the cancer had spread to her brain. Four tumors were affecting her vision and motor coordination. A new round of daily chemo was begun. Bordas had to be admitted to the hospital on Jan. 29 when her body completely immobilized. “Paralyzed, and literally turning to stone,” she said.

Turns out the port that was aiding in her chemotherapy (her fourth) was infected. That triggered a life-threatening pulmonary embolism, which is a bacteria-filled blood clot in the lung. She then had port-removal surgery, her 15th surgery since her initial cancer diagnosis, and is now being given a round-the-clock barrage of antibiotics to fight the infection.

It was during that hospital stay that doctors gave Bordas the grim news that her remaining time is limited. She bade an emotional goodbye to her “9 to 5” castmates on Saturday, saying that her primary goal now is time with her son, notably taking him on a Disney cruise. “When it comes right down to it, it’s about time,” she said of her decision. “Near death brings you new goals.”

The theater community has responded. So too have many people who have never met her. The initial word of Shelly’s situation urged supporters to send checks addressed to Shelly Bordas to the Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St., Littleton, CO, 80120.

Then, on Tuesday night, friend Sarah Roshan set up an account on the web site gogetfunding.com. And, as of 11 p.m. tonight (Feb. 13), 202 donors had pledged $10,400. “I am feeling good and thankful for this amazing community,” Roshan said.

The goal for the campaign has been increased to $15,000, for several reasons. Shelly will require up to four attendants to accompany her on any cruise (which she hopes to take in late March or early April). And the cruise is just one of many, many expenses she faces. Friends would also like to start a college fund for her son.

Bordas has not given up the fight. She has just started yet another new round of chemo. “What that is doing is buying me time,” she said. She has been overwhelmed by the response from the community. But she is having difficulty processing it all. Kelly Kates, her “9 to 5” choreographer, has taken on the role of trying to coordinate various efforts to help Bordas. Her email is kateshouse@earthlink.net.

Among the other ways in which people are helping:

*Voodoo Comedy Playhouse is donating all proceeds from its three shows on Wednesday, Feb. 20, to Shelly Bordas. The three scheduled “Voodoo Comedy Showcase” shows that night are “Humorous Harlots,” “Jump! Improv” and “Skintight Outrage.” Admission is $5 (but feel free to pay more). Voodoo is located at 1260 22nd St. in LoDo. This benefit is orgainzed by Kevin Lowry and Jessica Austgen.

*Dani Nelson Everson, a hair stylist who has never met Bordas, owns a salon in the Highlands neighborhood. As soon as she heard about Bordas’  fight, she announced a cut-a-thon, with all proceeds to benefit Bordas. Everson will have six stylists at the ready from 4-6:30 p.m. on March 8 at Clementine’s Denver, 2009 W. 33rd Ave. Phone: 720-328-3594. That was facilitated by Susan Lyles of And Toto Too Theatre Company.

*The mother of late actor Doug Rosen, a dear friend of Bordas’ who died on Sept. 5, 2009, has said she wants the balance of the fund his friends created to aid in Rosen’s own medical battle be transferred to Bordas. Rosen died before he could take full advantage of his friends’ generosity. That’s about $2,000 that will now go to Bordas.

*The Town Hall Arts Center has announced a “pay what you can” performance of “9 to 5” on Monday, March 4, with all funds going to Bordas. Call 303-794-2787 for reservations.

*Well-known area musical director Mitch Samu is planning a community-wide benefit concert to benefit Bordas. More details to come.

Bonus coverage: Listen to my very funny “Running Lines” podcast episode with Shelly when she was appearing in Theatre Group’s 2006 production of “Debbie Does Dallas.” She played Lisa and was also the musical’s “cheerographer.”

Note: I am preparing a video documentary on Shelly’s journey. When it is completed, you will see it here.

 

Shelly Bordas informed the cast of "9 to 5" that she would not be able to continue in her role on Feb. 9. Photo by John Moore of www.CultureWest.Org. All rights reserved.

Shelly Bordas informed the cast of “9 to 5” that she would not be able to continue in her role on Feb. 9. Photo by John Moore of www.CultureWest.Org. All rights reserved.

Shelly Bordas: A story that’s just beginning

Shelly Bordas, with choreographer Kelly Kates, told her "9 to 5" castmates yesterday that she would no longer be able to continue with the show. Photo by John Moore for CultureWest.Org

Shelly Bordas, with choreographer Kelly Kates, told her “9 to 5” castmates yesterday that she would no longer be able to continue with the show. Photo by John Moore for CultureWest.Org.

 

UPDATE: It’s here … an electronic means for helping Shelly Bordas with a donation. There also will be a “pay-what-you-can” performance of “9 to 5” on March 4, with all proceeds going to Shelly. Call 303-794-2787.

 

By John Moore
Feb. 10, 2013

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For the past month, I have been following the very funny comic actress Shelly Bordas in her journey back to the stage after a 3 1/2 year battle with breast cancer that she was told in November was behind her.

Shelly celebrated the news by auditioning for the Town Hall Arts Center’s “9 to 5,” and landed the comic role of the drunk secretary. We were both looking forward to soon bringing you my newest five-part video documentary on Shelly’s journey, culminating with her triumphant opening night on Feb. 22.

But the diagnosis quickly changed. The cancer had moved to Shelly’s brain. And so yesterday, after a 10-day hospital stay and her 15th surgery, Shelly told the cast that she could no longer continue in the show.

“The doctors don’t give me a lot of time,” she said. “… And every second I am at rehearsal is another second that I am away from my son.”

Her foremost goal now, she said, is to take her young son, Nathan, on a Disney cruise, she said, “because I need to see that happen.”

Shelly has appeared in dozens of plays around Colorado, but she is best known for her work with the now defunct Theatre Group, including memorable turns in “Cell Block Sirens of 1953,” “Bat Boy, the Musical” and, more recently, “Debbie Does Dallas.” She also has performed at the Arvada Center, the Avenue Theater, Backstage Theatre in Breckenridge and many others.

Shelly has been writing, teaching and directing youth theater for more than 15 years. She founded her own school, Acting Up, giving teenagers professional acting instruction. Many have gone on to work in New York. She has been teaching kids at the Town Hall Arts Center in Littleton for nine years. She has also been an instructor for Denver Public Schools, Gunnison High School, Stage Eleven and the Cherry Creek School District.

She left the cast on Saturday in typical good humor. “I am afraid I am going to leave you guys to deal with somebody who is never going to be near as good as me,” she said to laughs. “So that sucks for you guys.”

I will tell you that, despite her recent setback, Shelly’s story is just beginning. And we have agreed it should be chronicled. So, while I can’t say when, the video documentary will continue. When it is completed, you will see it here.

Help send Shelly and her son on a Disney cruise

To help Shelly defray the cost of taking her son on a Disney cruise, send donations addressed to Shelly Bordas to the Town Hall Arts Center, 2450 W. Main St., Littleton, CO, 80120.

Bonus coverage: Listen to my very funny “Running Lines” podcast episode with Shelly when she was appearing in Theatre Group’s 2006 production of “Debbie Does Dallas.” She played Lisa and was also the musical’s “cheerographer.”