Longtime Ogden Raptor fan raising money to fight cancer costs
By Roy Burton
OGDEN -- Kathy Gallegos opened her home to the Ogden Raptors. Now the Raptors are opening their home to her.
Gallegos and a group of fellow cancer patients are raising money to cover medical expenses and related costs by asking for donations for tickets to the Raptors game on Wednesday, Aug. 19, at Lindquist Field.
The Raptors will take on the Helena Brewers at 7 p.m. that night, but the fight against cancer continues every day.
Gallegos, a 51-year-old breast cancer patient from Layton, had a bilateral masectomy last November and began chemotherapy in January. She completed chemo July 1 and began radiation treatments this week.
Gallegos and her husband Mike, longtime Raptors fans and season-ticket holders, hosted Ogden players in their home in 2004 and 2005, including Ramon Troncoso, now a relief pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
"We've sponsored players, we've sold food from our family restaurant, from (Manuel's) El Burrito, at the Raptors' stadium for one season and we've since then become tailgating fans," Kathy Gallegos said, and they continue to hold tailgate parties at Lindquist Field before Saturday games.
Wednesday's fundraiser will benefit Gallegos and four other families she knows through her employment at the Internal Revenue Service. The group is asking for a $5 donation for each general admission ticket and is starting a foundation called Saving Second Base: Cancer Relief for the Ogden Valley Patients to provide stop-gap assistance until other foundations can step in with help. Donations can be made by calling Kathy at (801) 814-6710 or Mike at (801) 814-6709.
"Some of us have good jobs, we think we have good insurance, but it doesn't cover sometimes everyday living expenses like your lights and your gas," Gallegos said.
The fundraiser allows them to get money immediately into patients' hands "so they can maybe keep the lights on," Gallegos said. "There are other places that you can go to get financial help, but it doesn't seem to come fast enough. It's more like a trickledown."
The event came out of an offer from Raptors team president Dave Baggott to Gallegos.
"Dave came up to me and said that he understood that there are extra costs that go along with cancer treatments," Gallegos said. Baggott offered the tickets and promised he could have them printed in three days. "It was shocking for me to have somebody that's only known me as a fan come up to me and say, 'This is what I have available, I understand that you're not the only one and there's other people out there that need help.'"
Baggott said the Raptors are happy to help.
"We gave them a night at the ballpark, printed up 5,000 tickets and gave it to them to sell at whatever value they want and we have asked for nothing in return," Baggott said. "Hopefully they'll sell them all, raise some money and be in the ballpark to do some awareness for breast cancer. It was the right thing to do."
Cancer patients fight through stacks of paperwork and bureaucracy and have lots of ugly conversations with health care providers, even as they fight the disease, Gallegos said. "What I mean by ugly is, it's like pay now or else we don't treat you. Even though I have a good health insurance and I have a good job. You'd be amazed at how important is for that dollar to come before you get your care. We just want to put some hope someplace, that not everybody in the world is like that."
I think this is wonderful. I am proud to be a season ticket holder for the Raptors when I see the owner and team giving back to the community.
My mom has battled breast cancer twice now... has gone through a lumpectomy and mastectomy, has done chemo and radiation... Thankfully, now her hair is coming back and she is on the mend. I can only wish the same for all the others who are going through this.
I hope this fundraiser has a GREAT turnout and the city of Ogden can help support those who are going through this terrible disease.
Good luck and God Bless, Kathy.