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Shafter community lends helping hand to family in need

Posted at 5:39 PM, Jan 18, 2024
  • In November of 2023, Italy Gonzalez and her family received the worst news they could imagine. The bone marrow transplant she received earlier in the year was rejected by her body and her cancer returned. The news marked the start of Italy's second battle with cancer in a year. In that time, the Gonzalez family has fought to keep their daughter healthy, unfortunately leading to a long list of expenses.
  • On Sunday, Jan. 21, The Shafter Community Chest and other community partners will be hosting a fundraiser for the Gonzalez family at Tin Cup Coffee in Shafter from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • The event will feature area vendors, a car show, food, raffles, and other opportunities to donate to the Gonzalez family as they navigate the next steps with Italy's care.
  • Daisy Chacon, Italy's aunt, and Cathy Prout, treasurer for the non-profit Shafter Community Chest spoke with 23ABC for this story. Both noted the family are extremly thankful for the help the Shafter community and Kern County as a whole, have provided and continue to provide.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

In my short time covering this community, it's been clear Shafter is a proud city and willing to answer a call for help at the drop of a hat. Now, one family is making that call.

Italy Gonzalez was diagnosed with leukemia in November of 2022, following treatment and a bone marrow transplant the family was set to rejoice, but just a year after her diagnosis, the family was told that Italy’s cancer had returned.

“It was devastating. They were finally you know, seeing, you know, light at the end of the tunnel, and then whenever they — she started feeling sick, you know, we got the bad news and there was, you know, even worse news that it came back stronger, you know more dangerous, so it's been very hard on them,” said Daisy Chacon, Italy's aunt.

While Italy has been undergoing treatment, her parents have been unable to work, tending to her. And now the family is asking for help from the community that they love.

“The love and support is definitely there. My sister and my niece, my brother-in-law feel it. Everybody just coming together to help them. It's overwhelming but you know, we treat everybody like family and we feel like family because everybody's pretty much stepping in to help,” said Chacon.

Two dozen vendors have signed up to help out at the fundraiser, donating $50 each to the Gonzalez family’s care fund. There will be food, a car show, and raffles. Cathy Prout is the treasurer for the non-profit Shafter CommunityChest and said they want this event to be as big as possible.

“We just got to the point where we've been helping them for the last year, but because of the expenses and everything adds to some cases, this one got larger. And so we feel like when you involve the community on a larger scale, you can raise more money and helping in more, extra ways,” said Prout.

The fundraiser to benefit the Gonzalez family will be happening right here at Tin Cup on Sunday the 21st. It starts at 10 a.m. and runs till 4 p.m.


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