Community raises money for Victoria cancer victim (video)

A fundraiser for Martin Henry Villarreal, Jr., of Victoria, was held June 30th at the Knights of Columbus Hall. Villarreal is battling leukemia and hoping for a bone marrow transplant. The fundraiser featured chicken and sausage barbecue, a live auction, and musical entertainment.

The parking lot at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Ben Wilson Street was as busy as a supermarket lot during peak hours.

Albert Orosco had been directing traffic and helping visitors park for hours. He wasn't tired of it, though.

"I'll do anything for my brother-in-law," he said.

Orosco's brother-in-law is Martin Henry Villarreal Jr., who was recently diagnosed with leukemia and is hoping to receive a bone marrow transplant. The dozens of cars Orosco was wrangling were filled with people coming to see Villarreal, to buy plates of barbecued chicken and sausage donated by his friends and to participate in a live auction, with all proceeds going to the support of Villarreal and his family.

"He's just an amazing, amazing man," said Villarreal's wife, Josie Villarreal. Even during his medical treatment, she said, "He would still put someone else before him."

"He's helped many, many people, countless people, in his life," said Deacon Edward Molina of Our Lady of Sorrows Church and Holy Trinity Chapel. "This was our way to help him."

Molina said that the organizers' goal was to sell 2,000 plates of chicken at $7 apiece, but that after a few hours, they had sold almost 3,000. Orosco said the auction also was going better than expected.

Villarreal expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support from his family and friends and said he dislikes putting himself in the spotlight because he has known several cancer victims whose experiences were much more difficult than his own.

"I cannot say I've had a tough time," he said.