Sept. 15 marked the third annual Shannon Moralez Memorial Pool Tournament where $1,450 was raised to help two families going through cancer and another $340 was raised for the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center's foundation.
As advertised, the money raised goes to help a family (or families) going through cancer or any serious illness.
This year Shannon's family was able to help two families that are going through cancer. Treatments are a hardship on a family, whether it's emotional or financial, so it's hoped these donations will help lessen their burden. Tournament organizers had planned to present the families with their cashier's check at Confluence Lake near the area that Shannon liked to fish, but due to their illness, the families were unable to make the drive. Their check was either mailed or hand delivered.
Thomas Ponder from Delta is battling a rare form of cancer known as neurofibrosarcoma. There are no known case studies on this type of cancer, but when the tumor is removed, it drops seeds that attach to muscle mass and nerve endings resulting in a very aggressive cancer. Over the last several months, Ponder has been in and out of the hospital and his family has had to move to Grand Junction to be close to the hospital. His wife Tasha and their two children, five-year-old Aiden and one-year-old Deklan have been at his side throughout his hospitalizations and treatments. Due to his illness, Thomas has been unable to work and was forced to go on disability. Tasha has had her share of medical problems as well and recently underwent surgery. In an attempt to help her family with the thousands of dollars in medical bills, Tasha has tried holding several fundraisers that have not been very successful.
The second recipient, Lorraine Vigil from Montrose, is battling breast cancer. She was first diagnosed on her birthday two years ago. She has undergone a double mastectomy and is currently going through treatments and will know soon if the cancer has spread. Lorraine has been in the process of adopting six-year-old Esperanza "Esper" Rodriguez whom she has raised since Esper was 14 months old. Lorraine says that Esper is what keeps her going and lifts her spirits. She has a very good neighbor who steps in to help out with Esper on the days her illness does not allow her to take care of Esper or herself.
Since the start of the memorial tournament three years ago, organizers have helped six families thanks to the generosity and support from local businesses, the community, the participants and everyone who supports this event. Helping to put a smile on their faces makes this all worthwhile. This event relies strictly on donations and this year organizers were fortunate to receive generous donations from Delta, Montrose and Mesa counties as well as the Denver area and outside the state.
Shannon Moralez had been diagnosed with leukemia in 2003, but had been in remission for five years up until July 2008. For the next 14 months, Shannon was in and out of Presbyterian-St. Luke's Hospital in Denver. Having found a perfect match for a bone marrow transplant in his sister Staci, he had this procedure done in October 2008. Just as things were looking up, he contracted Graft-versus-host Disease (also known as GVHD) which affected his intestinal tract as well as other major organs. The trips back and forth to Denver for treatment were a hardship, not only on him but also on his family. His family and the community held a couple of fundraisers to help the family out with expenses. Since Shannon enjoyed playing pool, one of the fundraisers was a pool tournament. The benefit tournament was such a success that Shannon commented that if anything happened to him, he would like the family to continue with the tournaments. Shannon passed away on Sept. 19, 2009.
In keeping with Shannon's memory and his wish, the memorial pool tournaments will continue. Every September, close to the anniversary date of his death, a tournament will be held to raise money to help another family. Since the Rocky Mountain Cancer Treatment Center was the center that treated Shannon, part of the entry fee will continue to be donated to the Rocky Mountain Cancer Center's foundation.
"We also look forward to the community's continued support and for donations to be used in our raffle or auction," said Theresa Garcia. "Of course, monetary donations are always accepted and welcomed! We look forward to helping another family next year and hopefully raise more money."
The tournament continues to grow from the first event held three years ago. The first year there were 40 participants and $500 was raised. This year there were 68 participants and $1,450 was raised. Top winners were Mike Mullin, Montrose, first; Jean Haskins, Delta, second; Jose Valdez, Delta, third; Dillon Dalton, Grand Junction, fourth; Tom Tanner, Montrose, fifth; and Melissa McCarty, the top female.
Shannon's cousins Pete Garcia and Nathan Moralez, who run the tournament, made the presentations.
For more information or to make a donation to next year's event, contact Theresa Garcia at (970) 361-8691.blog comments powered by Disqus