Zwieg: Longtime helper needs some herself

Stephanie Fitzpatrick is known far and wide in the Roaring Fork Valley because she’s been such an active community member, and has worked many jobs, including volunteer efforts. At 72 years old, she can still out-ski, bike, hike, and compete in tennis better than most people her age! For those who have lived in the valley a long time, Stephanie ran the Local’s Corner, which was Mt. High Ice Cream, a gas station, and a T-shirt shop.

She worked for and currently works at the Aspen airport in customer service. Many know her from her volunteer work for Jazz-Aspen and Food & Wine, where she has worked for years. She is also a volunteer for the Red Cross During natural disasters and travels at a moment’s notice to help. More recently, she has started traveling and volunteering for Soles4Souls. 

This past April one Saturday morning, Stephanie woke up with some pain in her lower back. She got on the floor to stretch out her back and suddenly had no feeling from her waist down. She was able to reach her phone and call 911. She ended up in a Denver hospital and to her dismay, within a couple days, she was informed that she had a stroke in her spinal cord. An extremely rare condition, but nonetheless, it happened to Stephanie, and she is now paralyzed from her stomach down.

The doctors have told her this is permanent, but Stephanie remains hopeful. She has taken her sudden life-changing diagnosis with such grace, teaching all of us how quickly life can change, yet how to be positive and continue to move forward when it does. She is so happy to have gotten the news that this week she is moving back to the valley and living in a skilled care floor at Heritage Park in Carbondale.

Her current home is on a second floor and is not wheelchair accessible and will take a lot of work to get it there if she decides to try to move back home. She has realized she may be better off in a care facility for now, which insurance doesn’t cover and will be expensive. Either way, she will have to decide what to do on her own, and expenses will be high.

Here is a Go Fund Me site where we can help:

Mary Ann Zwieg

Friend and Co- Worker