Victory Motors brings in $100K in Cancer Drive |

Victory Motors brings in $100K in Cancer Drive

Barry Steadman/For Craig Press

The Victory Motors Cancer Drive saw another successful year raising money for the Moffat County Cancer Society over the weekend, surpassing $100,000 in donations during its six years in Craig.

Beginning the annual cancer drive in 2014, the Maneotis family — owners of Victory Motors — offered a variety of activities for Moffat County residents, including a casino night at the Quality Inn & Suites where participants indulged in some light gambling, a silent auction, and dinner.

Other activities over the weekend included a Denver Broncos autograph session at Victory Motors, and the third annual Rick Upchurch Drive 4 Life Golf Tournament at Yampa Valley Golf Course on Sunday.

The casino night saw an estimated 150 people, and the golf tournament had a total of 20 teams compete with trips to Cancun, Mexico and a trip for 2 to the Pebble Beach Lodge in California as the ultimate prizes.

“We want to always look for ways to keep the activities affordable and fun, but keep focused on what we’re here for,” Steve Maneotis said. “Sometimes until it strikes you or a loved one near you, you don’t know how much it will impact.”

Upchurch and the Maneotis family came together to fight cancer when their families found themselves in similar circumstances. Upchurch is a customer at Victory Motors, and formed a relationship with the Maneotis family through business and a mutual aversion to the impact cancer has had on their lives.

Upchurch, a former Denver Broncos wide receiver was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia in 2013, and Irene Kitzman of the Maneotis family was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer around the same time. Looking for ways to help raise awareness and help fund treatments for cancer, the Maneotis family began the Victory Motors Cancer Drive with Upchurch teaming up with them in 2016.

According to the World Health Organization, cancer is the second leading cause of death globally, and an estimated 9.6 million people lost their battle with the health issue in 2018. The economic impact of cancer is also growing at a significant rate. The total economic cost of cancer in 2010 was estimated at approximately $1.16 trillion. The two most common forms of cancer are lung and breast cancer, with nearly 2.09 million cases worldwide each.

In a study conducted by WHO, tobacco use is the single most important health factor leading to cancer, being responsible for approximately 22% of cancer related deaths. Other major risk factors include excessive alcohol use, unhealthy diets, and physical inactivity.

“I don’t get frustrated, I’m encouraged,” Upchurch said of his own trials with fighting cancer and the work involved with fundraisers. “You never know when your alarm is going to sound in your home — lord willing, it doesn’t.”

During the cancer drive, $50 per vehicle purchased at Victory Motors was donated to the Moffat County Cancer Society. On top of that, customers also get to select $125 in merchandise from Collectibles You Need, a business based out of Las Vegas that sells autographed sports memorabilia. Of that $125 worth of merchandise, 25% of it goes to the Moffat County Cancer Society.

“All of the money raised stays here in Moffat County,” Upchurch said. 

The cancer drive was made possible through a partnership with Upchurch, and Marty Rodick of Collectibles You Need as well as a lengthy list of sponsors in Moffat and Routt counties.

“No matter how big or small, we appreciate everyone’s support,” Maneotis said.

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