Fight for Sam: Satisfy your brisket longing for a cause

Carolina Astrain By Carolina Astrain

Jan. 9, 2013 at 3 p.m.
Updated Jan. 9, 2013 at 7:10 p.m.

Instead of hitting up your usual Sunday morning brunch spot, pick up a steaming plate of brisket for a good cause.

Friends of Samantha "Sam" Garcia are working to help alleviate the financial strain of Garcia's medical expenses.

Garcia suffered a relapse of colon cancer in March.

Her cancer is terminal.

Since her relapse, Garcia has taken off several weeks from work to recoup her strength from each agonizing chemotherapy treatment.

She has medical insurance through her partner Tabitha San Miguel's employer.

With at least 26 chemotherapy treatments under her belt since her initial diagnosis in 2010, the medical costs have started to pile up.

Each chemotherapy treatment costs from $13,000 to $15,000.

And even with insurance, Garcia and San Miguel are left covering 20 percent of all expenses.

Garcia and San Miguel were approached by Ray Ortega, a well-known fundraiser, to get locals involved.

"He's our leader," San Miguel said. "Without him we wouldn't be where we are today."

A slew of disc jockeys and area bands are set to play Sunday while the brisket is served and well into the afternoon's live auction.

San Miguel donated her 2006 Yamaha V Star Classic motorcycle, priced between $3,000 to $5,000, as the headlining raffle prize for the medical expense fundraiser.

Tender, juicy brisket plates, cooked by food committee head Joe Cruz, will sell for $7 each - a deal compared to the $20 to $30 meal I'd usually splurge on at other places.

Ortega said he has 14 committees dedicated to organizing the benefit - a system he likes to use when approaching any event.

The event organizer said he expects 2,000 plates of brisket to be ready for Sunday's benefit.

"I've got to make sure all my ducks are in a row," Ortega said. "These are all really swell people helping out to do this. I couldn't be more grateful."

This last holiday season, the community has shown its support for other residents who are terminally ill, including the families of Samuel Lane Jr. and teen Jessica Villarreal.

Samuel Lane Jr. is suffering from congestive heart failure, while Jessica, 16, suffers, like Garcia, from terminal cancer. They have both bared witness to the recent gratitude and generosity of the Crossroads community.

On a weekend when your dollar counts, skip out on your routine and dig into something hearty, good and rich with purpose.



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