Cainegel Connection Foundation

I, Jenell, started with the vision of the Foundation after my beloved son Caine Albrecht-Hilderbrand passed away June 20, 2018, from a drug overdose.

Caine and I

Who Was Cainegel

Caine’s nickname for some friends was “Cainegel” so after he got his wings and went to the heavens I thought it was fitting to put a name on the vision to help others by providing resources to those in need.

Caine Albrecht was born in 1993. Caine was raised in Glenwood Springs by me & Bill (his adoptive father).

He attended Valley View Hospital daycare  until elementary school at Sopris Elementary, and then on to Glenwood Springs Middle School…and finish out at Glenwood Springs High School.

Caine played soccer, baseball, skied competitively for Sunlight Ski Team, and Aspen Valley Ski Club. He also loved rock climbing, camping, kayaking, mountain biking, and spending time on the river rafting and camping.

As a young adult in sports. Injury was part of Caine’s life too. Opoids we’re prescribed post surgery and that lead to heroine use. He reached out to us 2 years prior to his death with anxiety. He started counseling, taking anti depressants, and participating in mindfulness programs.

He was doing very well with sobriety utilizing local resources and living with family. In the winter,  he fell skiing and fractured his spine…and we started all over again. He struggled and again, he reached sobriety with counseling, medication, and recovery groups.

Caine died from a drug overdose on 6/20/2018. The drug he purchased was not heroin, It was in fact Fentanyl, Morphine, Cocaine, and Benzo’s.

As a young adult in sports. Injury was part of Caine’s life too. Opoids we’re prescribed post surgery and that lead to heroine use. He reached out to us 2 years prior to his death with anxiety. He started counseling, taking anti depressants, and participating in mindfulness programs.

He was doing very well with sobriety utilizing local resources and living with family. In the winter,  he fell skiing and fractured his spine…and we started all over again. He struggled and again, he reached sobriety with counseling, medication, and recovery groups.

Caine died from a drug overdose on 6/20/2018. The drug he purchased was not heroin, It was in fact Fentanyl, Morphine, Cocaine, and Benzo’s.

How We Got Started

I didn’t have much help or resources given to me from ER visits or local counseling groups.

I felt there was a lack of resources for her when trying to find Caine the help he needed with his addiction to Heroin. After countless phone calls to rehab facilities, it was not financially reasonable for our family to afford treatment as an inpatient.

Caine was utilizing the local outpatient resources in our community to help him with sobriety. His “good” friends rallied around him, we were working with his doctor, counseling, psychiatrist, and meditation/mindfulness center to help him with his sobriety.

The doctor gave him medication to sleep, medication for nausea, and his psychiatrist gave him an antidepressant. The one thing I  learned is that a young man in his 20’s was not really taking his medications routinely as prescribed and also gave him side effects that was contributing to him “not taking the meds routinely”.

Caine did get employment at the local hospital in sterile processing and was so proud of this job. He was going to take the certification text so he could get a raise and maybe even grow to something in surgery with more education. He had hopes and dreams of pursuing a career and being part of something greater than himself. It gave him pride.

I didn’t have much help or resources given to me from ER visits or local counseling groups.

I felt there was a lack of resources for her when trying to find Caine the help he needed with his addiction to Heroin. After countless phone calls to rehab facilities, it was not financially reasonable for our family to afford treatment as an inpatient.

Caine was utilizing the local outpatient resources in our community to help him with sobriety. His “good” friends rallied around him, we were working with his doctor, counseling, psychiatrist, and meditation/mindfulness center to help him with his sobriety.

The doctor gave him medication to sleep, medication for nausea, and his psychiatrist gave him an antidepressant. The one thing I  learned is that a young man in his 20’s was not really taking his medications routinely as prescribed and also gave him side effects that was contributing to him “not taking the meds routinely”.

Caine did get employment at the local hospital in sterile processing and was so proud of this job. He was going to take the certification text so he could get a raise and maybe even grow to something in surgery with more education. He had hopes and dreams of pursuing a career and being part of something greater than himself. It gave him pride.

It was several months later than he relapsed, lost his job and a few days later he died of an overdose- basically the toxicology report read it was all Fentanyl- no heroin, a small trace of cocaine, and small trace of Benzo’s. I know in my heart that Caine was not looking to die, he was looking to get high. He carried shame with his addiction, he was depressed, he was in over his head with this, and I was very inexperienced with this sort of thing, I had no idea what we were dealing with.

Which leads me to this foundation. In honor of Caine, I would like to grow and learn how I can best get those resources out there for others in need. There are more and more resources out there and often times those resources go unknown unless you are in a crisis.

I hope to grow this foundation so emergency rooms, hospitals, medical clinics, schools, and counseling resources will have our website on hand to share with those in need.

Just because I work as a nurse, does not mean I am an expert on this, or anything else for that matter.

I am determined to show others experiencing a loss to an overdose, that you can be the change that you want to see in the community, in the nation and in the world.

One small step at a time.

Board Members

Jenell & Bill Hilderbrand

Jenell – Founder and President

Business Owners and RN in the valley 23+ years, Volunteer for KDNK, CARE, and more.

Jenell grew up in Wisconsin and moved to Colorado with her infant son Caine at the turn of 1994. Jenell went to nursing school at CMC 1998 and got her BSN through American Sentinel University in 2016.

Jenell met her husband Bill in 2000 and got married in 2001 and Bill raised Caine as his own. We adventured as a family through camping, climbing, kayaking, rafting, hiking, and skiing. Caine passed away in 2018 from Fentanyl poisoning and Caine had struggled briefly with addiction. Jenell started Cainegels Connection in 2019 to honor Caine and “Pay it Forward” to help others connect with resources. Jenell currently manages Bill’s business, works as a nurse part time at the local hospital, fundraises to give scholarships for Cainegel, and has a podcast called Brain Garden, spotlighting youth, adults, and resources on life’s obstacles

Beth Wysong - Vice President

Director of AZYEP – Teacher / Business Professional.

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Beth Wysong lives in Carbondale, Colorado where she strives to build community through her passion for education. She currently works as Executive Director for The Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program (AZYEP) which has a mission of empowering youth through broadcasting on KDNK Community Radio.

Beth is also an instructor at Colorado Mountain College where she teaches English as a Second Language. From 2006 to 2013, Beth taught 7th and 8th grade language arts at Glenwood Springs Middle School (GSMS).

During Beth’s second year of teaching at GSMS, she met Caine and found great joy in knowing him as one of her favorite students.

Caine was memorable to her because of his intelligence, awareness of the world, compassion for others, contagious positive attitude, and ability to learn. Caine was a bright light for her during her years at GSMS. She also had the pleasure of knowing him as an adult DJ at KDNK.

Beth attended Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, CO. In 2002 she graduated with a BA in speech communication with an emphasis in media studies.

She later moved to Santiago, Chile where she taught English and volunteered for an NGO that assists individuals in economic distress. She returned to CSU in 2004 and obtained an MA in educational leadership.

Beth’s greatest accomplishment thus far is having walked 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago in France and Spain in 2010 and again in Portugal in 2012.

Beth enjoys spending time with friends and family and appreciates music, travel, skiing, biking, swimming, and rafting. When she is not working, Beth can be found sitting on the front porch with her boyfriend Doug and dog Rainy.

Kielee Alexander - Treasurer

Yard Sale Committee Lead – Administrative Assistant at Holy Cross Energy

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I’m a passionate Administrative Assistant at Holy Cross Energy who loves being a mother and spending time outdoors when there is no snow.

When I’m not working, you can find me spending my time with my daughter, playing outdoors, doing art projects, or exploring a new place to go camping. I’ve always been fascinated by helping others and taking those in need under my wing. Shortly after my daughter was born, we lost her father to an overdose.

My journey has led me to want to help those with addiction and assist in connecting those who need help with resources, as so many people in our valley are affected in some way by addiction. I thrive on seeing people overcome obstacles and achieve things they never thought possible.

I believe we are all stronger than we may sometimes think and may sometimes need a helping hand.

Kiara Christianson - Secretary

Financial Literacy – Social Services – Special Olympics Volunteer

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Kiara is originally from Minnesota but has lived in Colorado for over 20 years.

She had spent most of her working years in the public sector. She met Jenell at a spin class at the local recreation center and they have been friends ever since enjoying all kinds of outdoor adventures together.

Adele Craft - Podcast Manager

Brain Garden and Media Manager

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Adele Craft grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley and recently moved across the pond to London, England. She graduated from Colorado Mountain College in 2020 with a BA in sustainability studies. Adele is currently pursuing a master’s degree in positive psychology and coaching psychology from the University of East London. 

Adele had the pleasure of collaborating with Jenell for two years on the Brain Garden podcast while she worked as the program manager for the Andy Zanca Youth Empowerment Program. She is excited to continue facilitating inspiring conversations through the podcast with Cainegel. 

Adele is passionate about working with young people in the fields of mental health and environmental sustainability. In her free time, Adele enjoys watercolor painting, cooking, being in nature, and bringing people together to create community. She is very excited to be part of this incredible team.

Tennis Committee Members

Alex Brager

Owner of Sir Speedy Printing, Friend, and Mom.

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Alex is thrilled to be part of Cainegels Connection!

A Las Vegas native, she moved to Colorado to pursue graduate studies in literature and spent much of her career teaching high school and college English courses.

Now, Alex advises high school students and their families through the college admissions process and owns a print and marketing business with her husband, Dustin. Together, they have three young children.

For fun, Alex is an avid tennis player, clarinetist, skier, and recently ran her first triathlon.

Kate Liebinger

Yard Sale Committee and Tennis Committee Member

Yard Sale Committee Members

Susie Demers

Professional at VVH and Friend.

Kate Liebinger

Yard Sale Committee and Tennis Committee Member

Get in Touch. Get Involved.

We would love to stay in touch with you!

Also, if there’s something you are looking for that you couldn’t find here please let us know.

contact@cainegelconnection.org

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