Several people in the community are organizing a benefit for Marisa Grace Vargas. Marisa, who is battling leukemia and still has a long way to go, a group, headed up by Sherry Hawkins, has jumped in to help out. Many of the girls organizing this benefit work at The Blanco National Bank. Al Turner, “That Other Guy,” along with many other people from both Blanco and Johnson City, have joined in to help with the fundraiser. There will be fun to be had by all who attend. The event is scheduled for Saturday, May 17, 2008, at the Yett Park in Blanco.
The fundraiser will open with a big garage sale at 9 am and ends with dancing to Peoples Choice Band that evening from 9 pm to 1 am. There will be events for all ages, including cake auction, live and silent auction, tournaments, throw the dart at the balloons, ring toss, and other contests.
They will be serving BBQ plates from noon to 2 pm and again from 5 pm to 7 pm. BBQ buns and other food will be available throughout the rest of the day.
There are a lot of people who have already donated to the group to help make this event possible. Just to mention a few so far at this time: IESI, Riley’s BBQ, Ronnie Steubing, Kim’s Printing, Myane Realty, Guardian Title Company, Walter and Janice Allen, Oscar Segura, the Yett Park committee, numerous dealers from Cranberry’s, Blanco Heating and Cooling, Laura Walla, Jimmie Smith, Bill Wittkohl, Strickland’s Storage, and Travis Turner. A complete list will be published at a later date. If anyone wishes to make donations, please contact any one of the four local banks. There have been accounts set up at all of them in the name of Vargas Cancer Benefit Fundraiser.
I guess Al Turner really said it best to the committee when he joined. The people of Blanco County have, as near as he can tell, always looked out for each other.
When he first moved here he was so taken by the community and he wanted to be a part of it. The best way to become a part of something is to get involved and that’s what he and many others have tried to do. When he first heard about the Vargas family and the hard times they were going through, he wanted to do something to help them, especially since he has been exactly where they are now.
This benefit is to help this family and to once again confirm what he has learned and to let others learn from it. When you live in Blanco County, you are not alone.
Sherry has organized several fundraisers in Blanco and Johnson and she wanted to take this time to let the community know how the proceeds are handled. It is very important to her and all other committee members that you, as the community and supporters, know exactly how the committee ensures your donations are properly used. First of all, no proceeds are ever given out in a lump sum. When money is needed the family being helped must bring in a bill to be paid and the committee will issue a check to that place. If money is needed for gas to go back and forth to doctors and hospitals, then the committee gives the family an allowance for that need. The Vargas family has expressed the wish that any leftover proceeds go to some other family that might be in need.
Sherry has asked Lisa, Marisa’s mother, to write a brief story of what this little girl has had to endure already, as it is a lot for a grown-up much less for a little 3 year old. Marisa’s story follows below.
Marisa Grace Vargas was born on November 28, 2004 in San Antonio, TX to Juan and Lisa Vargas. One month shy of her 2nd birthday we noticed that her tonsils were swelling. Our initial visit to the doctor we were told she had strep throat. On October 9, 2006 we took her back to her pediatrician. What Marissa was about to endure was not the typical terrible twos we were expecting. On October 12, 2006 we were informed that our 23 month old daughter had Acute Lymphocytic T-cell Leukemia and it was rapidly taking over her immune system. In the same day she had both her first spinal tap and chemotherapy treatment. After that every time we were admitted to the hospital it was scheduled because of a chemo treatment. On October 31, 2007 she began to swell again and we noticed 2 bumps on the back of her head. We knew that the leukemia was back. We were then told that a transplant would be in our best interest if we wanted her best survival rate. Marisa went through radiation 2 times a day for three days and then on the third day she was admitted to the hospital to proceed with chemotherapy. Marisa then received 4 days of extremely harsh chemo with a break for a day and then we received our new cells. Marisa went through a stem cell transplant on February 19, 2007. Marisa then endured the hardest 3 weeks that she has probably ever gone through. She had almost all of the side effects that radiation and chemotherapy can cause severe nausea and vomiting. During this time she endured severe mucusitis (mouth sores that not only cover the entire inside of her mouth but throughout her entire body i.e. esophagus, intestines, etc.), her skin has become discolored and she is beginning to loose it in spurts, this is normal. She of course has lost all of her hair but she doesn’t seem to mind because she has done this twice before. Marisa was released from the hospital on March 15, 2008 with even tighter restrictions and with the same in/out appointments. We have received great news that the transplant has taken effect and now her new cells are working and reproducing themselves. However, with this excellent news we have to still be very cautious because she isn’t out of the woods yet. We will need to wait till the year out too know for sure.