Community raises funds for sick man

Jennifer Lee Preyss By Jennifer Lee Preyss

May 19, 2013 at 12:19 a.m.
Updated May 20, 2013 at 12:20 a.m.

Robert Galvan's son, Eugene Galvan, enjoys himself during a benefit for his father at the Catholic War Veterans Hall in Victoria.

Robert Galvan's son, Eugene Galvan, enjoys himself during a benefit for his father at the Catholic War Veterans Hall in Victoria.

An excited crowd eagerly waited for Jessie Estrada to introduce the next auction item for bid.

The auctioneer's table of homemade cakes and kitchen items was becoming sparse; only a few cakes and cookies remained.

"Do I have $60? I've got 60. Now, $65. Who will give me $65?" shouted Estrada, while he pointed at raised hands inside the Catholic War Veterans Hall on Main Street.

Prices on the cakes, cookies and other homemade items sold for more than $100 each. A knife and holster sold for more than $400. Combined with the $7 brisket meals-to-go, thousands of dollars were raised to help defray medical expenses for retired carpenter Roberto Galvan, of Victoria.

Since February, the 63-year-old Galvan's health has been slowly deteriorating. He's had heart blockage and failure and blood circulation issues that resulted in nine leg amputations. He also started coughing up blood a few weeks ago, and doctors discovered a cluster of ulcers in his stomach, son Robert Galvan said.

The disease in his body also has created a bacteria-driven bedsore that has eaten through his lower back and buttocks.

"It's down to his flesh, to the bone," said Galvan's son.

The bedsore and other health problems have confined him to the bed.

"He's at home resting. He can't get out of bed anymore. He's hooked up to a lot of tubes, and the doctors are just trying to make him as comfortable as possible because there's nothing more they can do for him."

Robert Galvan said his father came to live with him and his wife because his father could no longer physically or financially support himself. He said his father lives off a small Social Security check, but the medical bills are piling up every day.

"He was fine in February, and then he all of a sudden couldn't take care of himself," he said."I don't know how much he owes total, but it's up there."

With every dollar earned at Sunday's fundraiser benefit, Robert Galvan's wife, Charlene Galvan, said she was thankful.

"I think it's wonderful so many people took time out of their day to come out here and support my father-in-law," she said. "I expected a big crowd because that's how this family is, but it's nice to see them come."

Richard Galvan, Roberto's brother, said he, too, was thankful for those in attendance at Sunday's fundraiser.

Turning his head away so no one would see his tears, Richard Galvan said of his brother, "I love him. They came here for him."

Galvan explained that he was not surprised to see a large crowd at his brother's benefit because he was always aiding those in need.

"All his friends came out here because they've all been helped by him at some point," Richard Galvan said.

Funds collected at Sunday's event will be used to pay for existing and future medical bills.

Robert said more than anything, he wants his father healthy and back on his feet. But no matter what happens in the future, he'll always remember the good times and the love he shared with his father.

"He's been a great dad," he said. "Always was."



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