Local cancer society receives $13K donation | CraigDailyPress.com

Local cancer society receives $13K donation

Noelle Leavitt Riley

Moffat County Cancer Society board members Kathy Darveau, left, Jacque Malley, Sandra Beran, Kelly Smith and Victory Motors owners Irene Kitzman and her brothers, Steve and Tony Maneotis proudly pose in front of the dealership after receiving a $13,254 check on Wednesday. Not pictured is Moffat County Cancer Society Vice President Debra Reglin.

Victory Motors handed the Moffat County Cancer Society a $13,254 check on Wednesday — money that was raised in September over a two-day period.

The best part about the donation is that it stays in Moffat County, said Kelly Smith, treasurer for Moffat County Cancer Society. The cancer society allocates the monies to help variety of local cancer patient needs.

Smith and fellow board members had tears rolling down their faces as they accepted the check from Victory Motors owners Irene Kitzman and her brothers, Steve and Tony Maneotis.

"Praise God," Smith said, noting that it's the largest single donation the cancer society has received since its inception in 1997.

The money was raised the weekend of Sept. 27 when the dealership hosted a Cancer Drive fundraiser along with a silent auction with former Denver Broncos receiver Rick Upchurch. Other former Broncos Le-Lo Lang, Ron Egloff, Dave Studdard and Randy Gradishar assisted with the day’s activities as well.

Upchurch, who is battling chronic myeloid leukemia, is a long-time friend of Tony Maneotis and has visited Craig several times over the last couple of decades, helping with football camp for local youth and raising awareness for cancer.

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"I've always been involved. Cancer has been in my family for a long time since I was a kid," Upchurch told the Daily Press, noting that his grandfather passed away from lung cancer, his cousin died of liver cancer and his uncle succumbed to pancreatic cancer.

Upchurch and his wife work hard to raise money for the cause.

"It feels wonderful that we can go out and help these families," Upchurch said. "I give praise to God. We believe that God has given us a mission. It's very expensive (to fight cancer). We're going to make this thing bigger and better in Moffat County."

Local businesses and national organizations and businesses donated cash money and high-value items for the drive.

Fox Sports contributed a jacket and coffee mug with the network's logo on it for the silent auction.

Severson Supply & Rental donated $1,000 in cash to the Cancer Drive, and Masterworks Mechanical donated $500. Orthopedics of Steamboat gave a whopping $2,500.

Several other Craig businesses — including Kester Jewelry, Yampa Valley Bank and Bank of Colorado, to name a few — donated $100 or more to the effort.

And, Victory Motors isn't done with the drive, as it will give $50 of any car purchase to the cancer society though the end of 2014.

"We hope to get it to $25,000 before the year is over," Kitzman said. "I'd like to thank our staff here at Victory Motors. Everyone was willing to help."

Victory Motors, with the help of Upchurch and other former and current Broncos, will host a huge cancer drive next June.

Contact Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790 or nriley@craigdailypress.com.