Looking out at 500 faces at The Broadmoor for Peak Vista’s Breakfast of Champions November fundraiser, Dr. Lisa Ramey, interim president and CEO of Peak Vista, echoed how everyone felt. It was so good to be in person again, she said. Thank goodness, not another Zoom call!

How far Peak Vista Community Health Centers has come since 1971 when it was an all-volunteer organization, the Colorado Springs Free Clinic, open two nights each week for walk-in patients, Ramey said. In 2020, they served 93,240 patients in 403,472 visits, almost 40,000 of those virtual because of pandemic restrictions. More than $7.8 million in charity care had been provided. There are clinics across Colorado Springs and from Divide to Falcon and Limon and Strasburg. A new facility is under construction near the Springs Rescue Mission.

Ramey thanked donors and sponsors, table captains and those new to the fundraisers, sharing how grateful they were for grants during the difficult COVID-19 times. However, many of those grants were one time and “we need your help now for all the needs, medical, dental and mental health.” Guests responded with $225,000.

Following the Peak Vista tradition of teaming for breakfast with Olympic and Paralympic gold medal athletes, 14-time Paralympic swimming gold medalist Erin Popovich was the keynote speaker and a crowd delight. She had grown up as a soccer player but at a tiny 4 feet 4-plus inches wanted something different.

At Colorado State University she “doggie paddled” her start onto the swim team at the home base of champion Amy Van Dyken, who preceded her as the 2017 Breakfast of Champions speaker. Gold came Popovich’s way in Sydney (2000), Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008). She’s in the Hall of Fame and twice won the ESPY for Best Female Athlete with a Disability. “You’re proud of individual accomplishments, but there is more,” she said. “The team, Team USA, and representing your country, the United States.”

Along the way, Popovich saw “all the athletes of the world” and it was an eye opener. For example “you see the differences.” The American Paralympians had “elite devices” yet in another corner were athletes from poorer countries “with archaic prosthetic legs and equipment.” Yet, “every athlete rose above. It’s not what life gave you, it’s how you respond.”

With a tip of her hat to Peak Vista, she said that by being with the people of the world, “you see the differences in medical care. We have access. We don’t wait weeks or months for care. Our access to health care ...being able to drive down the street to an urgent care, not walk for miles or wait weeks.”

Load comments