Sitting on top of the world in Denver.

High above the city, on the 38th floor Pinnacle Club, the Colorado Neurological Institute gathered to honor five unforgettable individuals. Each had suffered life changing disabilities yet with strength and their insurmountable resilience each arrived that night with dignity to receive a Hope Award.

The annual Cindy Acree Hope Awards celebrates CNI patients who have shown great courage in the face of a neurological condition. Established in 1999, the event is named in honor of Ms. Acree, who underwent brain surgery for epilepsy, suffered a stroke and then exhibited tenacity and courage throughout her recovery.  Ms. Acree is a former Colorado state representative, past chairman of the CNI Board of Directors and a major contributor to CNI’s volunteer successes.

The five stars of the evening were Kimberlee Nanda, Michael Williams, Mary Dobson, Ernie Hempel and Claire Torres. Inhaling the beautiful view the stars felt as if they were sitting on a mountain because each had climbed a mountain and made it to the top. From brain cancer to a stroke, multiple sclerosis and, a cochlear implant each award was a celebration for overcoming life threatening and life changing obstacles.

The evening was a true celebration for individuals and care givers to shine. It takes a village to see many through rough times. That’s why the Colorado Neurological Institute is alive and well.

The organization has one word to define them.

hope (hop) n. The emotional state which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life.

CNI is a non-profit neuroscience organization providing research, patient services and education for persons with neurological conditions and their caregivers since 1988. For more information go to their website: