Stories from Denver County

This page features stories from Denver County. Listen to these stories, visit our Featured Stories page, or search for stories by topic or by location.


Jess – Denver, CO


Growing up going to a sleep-away camp, camp nurses played an important role in Jess’s life. She talks about how their immersion in campers’ and staff members’ everyday activities helped teach kids that health care professionals are “real people” too.

“There’s a lot of talk now about medical homes and integrated care… all of these buzz words. I think the camp nurse is the prime example of when this works best, because they’re living with you!”


Connor – Denver, CO

Connor - Denver, CO

Connor, of Denver, shares his story of personal transformation. Feeling like he had little control over his life, Connor seized the opportunity to get in shape and change his outlook through boot camp classes.

“I was looking at myself, I had kind of gotten a stomach, I was sitting at this desk all day, and you just think to yourself… this really isn’t who I am and I feel like my body doesn’t really reflect my personality. You’re thinking, there’s something that I can change here.”


Sara – Denver, CO

Sara - Denver, COSara is a family nurse practitioner in Denver. She talks about the challenges associated with serving a refugee population and the importance of cultural competency.

“We come from a perspective of Western medicine… [We have to] learn where they are coming from. What does hypertension mean to somebody from Nepal? We don’t really know.”


Jonathan – Denver, CO

Jonathan, a young man living in Jonathan - Denver, CODenver, describes his experience supporting his fiancé as she battled Lyme disease. It is a rare disease in the Rocky Mountain region and there are a limited number of providers able to provide adequate care for treatment.

“My perception was that the doctor would kind of control the path of the care…actually that was not the case.  Looking back at it now the doctor kind of took a stab at what what he thought was going on but didn’t really follow through on that.”



Denali – Denver, CO

denalijohnsonDenali, of Denver, shares her story of a serious ski accident and the subsequent search for quality care while covered under her family’s military health plan.  Although she was able to access the military system, her care lacked consistency and coordination.

“I kept having these spasms and nobody really knew what was going on.  I had no consistent medical records and there was just no conversation between any of these providers that I had been seeing…”



John – Durango, CO

John - Durango, CO

John, a medical student in Denver, CO who did his rural rotation in Durango, shares his story about how developed a passion for medicine. He talks about his time volunteering in the Chiapas region in Mexico, and the similar struggles of chronic disease and poor access to care amongst citizens in the United States.

“There’s a big discussion about safety net clinics and safety net health care systems and the people who are making decisions are so detached from the reality on the ground, in terms of health care, that they’re more likely to do away with them.”


Daniel – Denver. CO

Daniel, of Denver, CO, shares his and his wife’s health story. At five months pregnant, they were struck by devastating news. Daniel tells their emotional journey of extreme sadness and incredible strength.

“…they ended up doing an MRI and I remember her coming out and saying the baby had been kicking her the whole time. Her OB came into the waiting room … and was weeping, she said the cancer was everywhere.”



Gretchen – Denver, CO

Gretchen, a Park Hill resident in Denver, CO shares her family’s health story. She talks about her father, his rural medicine mentality, and the seamless integration between health care and community.

“Health was always important, and it was an important part of our growing up, and an important part of how we interacted with our community.”


Penny – Denver, CO

Penny, a lifelong Denverite, shares her personal transformation story. Over the past year she has lost 30 lbs, changed her mental outlook, and completed a Tough Mudder race. From self-control to self-esteem, Penny’s story is incredibly relatable and inspiring for young Colorado women.

“When they were asking us what our goals were, I said ‘I just want to feel healthy.’ Instead of saying … I want to lose 20 lbs, I said ‘I want to be eating better and I want to feel great.'”


Ben – Denver, CO

Ben shares his story about his involvement with Denver City Lax, which uses the sport of lacrosse as a means to emphasize the importance of education and health, and instill life goals in today’s youth. Ben and his dad started DCL five years ago, and never could have imagined the impact it would have on both the players, and the surrounding community.

“City Lax is really going to become a community organization…it’s not just the kids who need to get behind it, it’s everyone as a whole. That has probably been one of the biggest assets to our organization.”

Karen and Benjamin

Karen and Benjamin – Denver, CO

Karen shares her story about her son Benjamin, who is hearing and visually impaired. She describes their experience with numerous providers, trying to diagnose Benjamin’s issues. Throughout all of it, Karen and her family have stayed extremely positive and built many meaningful relationships within the medical community.

“Some of our relationship with some of our doctors…well it’s almost like a marriage. You have your moments, you just love them so much, and other moments your not sure about this.”


Sharon – Denver, CO

Sharon shares her story about her family pediatrician and subsequent health care providers. She talks about looking for the same positive qualities in her current physician that kept her family with their pediatrician for over 18 years. It is Sharon’s hope that in the future all children and adults will be as happy with their provider, and that everyone will have a stable medical home.

“I’m hoping that at some point this country will get to that, where we can get the care we need when we need it.”

Aleece and Carol

Aleece and Carol – Denver, CO

Aleece and her mother Carol own and run The Garden, a restaurant in Denver’s Park Hill neighborhood, committed to providing healthy, local, affordable and sustainable foods. After a difficult and devastating family battle with cancer, Aleece went to natural chef school and now prepares a menu that has plenty of options for folks with restricted diets including vegan, gluten-free and raw choices. Aleece and her mother Carol believe that people must take personal responsibility for their own health, starting with the food they put in their bodies.

“One month after she got the terminal diagnosis was when my lightbulb went on and I saw a big bullseye on my forehead. I was like, you better do whatever you can do to minimize your risk of cancer. You better educate yourself, inform yourself of what’s going on, and take some responsibility for your own life.”

Dr. Mark

Dr. Mark Earnest – Denver, CO

Dr. Mark Earnest is a Professor in the Division of General Medicine for the University of Colorado and the Co-Founder and Director of the LEADS Program. He is also a Denver resident, and tells the story of a patient who sought treatment for kidney disease and her struggle to afford the necessary care. He wants to share her story to show how the medical system could be different, in a way that overcomes people’s fear about change.

“Isn’t it enough that somebody has lost their kidneys and now has to be on dialysis? Do we have to completely ruin them before we provide care?”

Dr. Carl

Dr. Carl Clark – Denver, CO

Dr. Carl Clark, a mental health provider in Denver, describes his father’s struggle with bi-polar disorder.  He tells his father’s story of diagnosis and recovery and its impact on his personal career choice.

“I didn’t know my dad had a mental illness.  I thought all dads were full of abundant energy and this hopping in the car and taking spontaneous vacations.  I thought that’s just what dads did.”