July 21, 2007
The family and friends of Josh Farler wish to thank you for your support once again. The 3rd Annual Josh Farler Memorial Fight Against Cancer - Texas Holdem Poker Tournament - held on May 12, 2007 in Bakersfield California was another true testament to Kern County's recurring generosity.
It is with great pride and pleasure that we share with you an accounting of this year's event. Attendees were treated to comfortable weather, great food, and wholesome family entertainment. The players were extremely competitive - approximately thirty - each one motivated to rise above the rest, all vying for the opportunity to have their name placed on the Perpetual Plaque. Once the dust settled there was but one player who could claim the honor - Amanda Simmons. Mandy is one of the many "cousins" to Josh who participated and she was thrilled to be able to have this win memorialized in Joshes' honor.
The JFMFAC committee has met and the grand total of all donations received from this year's activities was $8833, over $3000 more than last year's ending total. After all financial obligations have been met; a check for $8000 will be presented to a 27-year old man with brain cancer named Michael Shaw.
Michael was first diagnosed in 2001 - at the age of 21 - with a brain tumor. He had surgery to remove the tumor and began treatments at UCLA. He seemed to be doing well and things were looking up for Michael and his wife Hailey. During what Michael refers to as a problem free, four year time frame, they had a son - Dillion, now 2 years old. In 2003 another tumor appeared, this time as a 'grade 4'. Michael has had to leave his career as a math teacher at Stockdale High School to once again seek help at UCLA, traveling at least twice a month for necessary blood work, chemo and other procedures related to his cancer. Statistics are not good and the inoperable tumor is growing.
Michael and Hailey are struggling with many of the same issues that families are commonly faced with when dealing with cancer. Hailey feels unable to work outside of the home, as she is Michael 's sole source of transportation to the required treatments and childcare fees for Dilion would only add expense to their already limited budget. Mike's parents live in Bakersfield and help out as much as the are able too. His wife Hailey has a large family in the Long Beach area. Health Insurance through the Kern High School District is a blessing but it will expire in October of this year and Michael must consider affordable options which could cost as much as $800 per month. They are not sure how long they will be able to stay in their home and are currently considering relocation closer to family for financial and much needed moral support. In Michael's own words, "Confronting your mortality changes your perception on life and what is truly important - Friends and Family."
As each of us are quite aware, there is no amount of money that can come remotely close to solving this young families problem, so we can only pray that this gift of $8000 will at least ease their burden in some small way. Each one of your contributions made this possible.
We feel certain that it would make Josh proud to know that his memory lives on through each of us who work towards and attend this event in his honor - but again, let us stress that none of this would have been a reality without participation from each of you. We cannot thank you enough! We have already begun the planning for next year's event and hope to see each of you there and please, feel free to bring along a friend!
We wish to leave you again with this passage from Numbers 6:24-25 - The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you.
The friends and family of Josh Farler