A 5-year-old girl and a woman battling cancer will be the recipients of proceeds from the 13th Pig Bowl competition on Saturday, Sept. 19.
The flag football game begins at 7 p.m. at Sid White field and involves Oregon law enforcement officers battling their peers from Washington State.
Michael Holloran, senior trooper for the Oregon State Police office in The Dalles, heads the Pig Bowl board of directors. He said the generosity of The Dalles and other gorge communities has allowed the nonprofit group to split proceeds between two families for the third year.
“We don’t have any overhead costs, everything is donated,” he said. “Everyone involved volunteers their time and, because people here just have a heart for giving, we have been able to do some amazing things.”
He said more than $175,000 has been raised since the first Pig Bowl game in 2003. This year’s goal, primarily through the sale of points, is $25,000-$30,000.
“We would love to be able to write the families of Lila May Schow and Tana Slawson each a check for $15,000,” said Holloran.
The fundraiser operates by letting donors buy touchdowns for their favorite team, either Oregon or Washington. To purchase pre-game points, go to pigbowl.net and follow the donation link.
A field goal can be bought for $25 and a touchdown for $50.
Holloran said the names of businesses and individuals buying points before Sept. 17 will be listed in the game program and all donor names get posted on the website in gratitude for their support.
As of press time Wednesday, Oregon was ahead with 530 points to Washington’s 434.
Most of the fundraising is done before the game, said Holloran. However, points can also be purchased while the game is going on.
Top Oregon contributors, to date, are: Guzman Brothers Towing in Hood River with a $500 for 70 points; Spooky’s in the Dalles for $300 (42 points); Senior Trooper Dede Hansell of Portland with $300 (42 points); Jacks Body Shop in The Dalles, $250 (35); the Employee Guild at NORCOR, $250 (35); Oil Can Henry’s in The Dalles, $250 (35); Pietro’s Pizza in Hood River, $250 (35); Griffith Motors in The Dalles, $200 (28); Rivermark Community Credit Union of The Dalles, $200 (28); and Duckwall-Pooley Fruit Company in Odell, $200 (28).
In Washington, the top donors include: Trusted Technical Solutions, $500 (70 points); Puget Sound Energy, $500 (70); Jerry and Mary Dean of Glenwood, $250 (35); Bishop Sanitation, $200 (28); and the City of Goldendale Local 1533G, $150 (21).
Holloran said sales at the game also add to the pot for recipients, and include food, $2 pig noses, $2 bracelets and a chance for children to romp in a bounce house for a fee of $3 for one-half of the game or $5 for the duration.
Kids can also pay $5 for the chance to snort like a pig over the PA system.
So much snorting goes on, said Holloran, that game announcer Rod Runyon hardly has a chance to talk about action on the field.
In recent weeks, the story of Lila May has made headlines across the Northwest and beyond. She was diagnosed with a rare form of childhood cancer called Neuroblastoma three years ago.
At the age of 2, Lila started treatment at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland that included a bone marrow transplant. In all, she has undergone five rounds of chemotherapy, three of radiation and eight surgeries.
Although the Hood River family, including mother Heidi Hall, stepfather Blake Hall and stepsister Mia Hall (same age) joined father Derek Schow in celebrating several reports that Lila was free of cancer, there were many relapses in her medical condition.
On Aug. 4, Lila was given a fairy tale birthday bash fit for a princess in honor of her 5th birthday.
Her family announced that the 2015 party would probably be Lila’s last due to the aggressive spread of cancer and low blood counts that had stopped treatment.
Although Lila was not expected to survive longer than a few months, her parents said they were committed to making sure she had as much fun in her young life as possible.
Lila has been able to take several trips, the most recent to Disneyland Park in Hawaii.
“I’m still praying for a miracle,”said Holloran. “We want to help this family pay off some of their medical bills and get through this very difficult time.”
Tana and her husband, Rick, reside in Goldendale and she has worked at Fred Meyers in The Dalles for more than four years.
She had a seizure on Jan. 17 that led her to the office of a neurologist and an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) of her head. She was found to have a brain tumor on her left temple lobe that was believed by physicians to be the size of a golf ball.
Although Tana was told in March that she could wait up to a year to have the tumor removed if it was not cancerous or fast-growing, she opted for surgery as soon as possible. On May 1, three days before the operation, Tana had another seizure. She learned about a week after the surgery that she had a Grade III Anaplastic Astrocytoma, a quick growing malignancy.
Tana was told by doctors the tumor had “fingerlings” and not all of them could be removed. She began going through radiation and chemotherapy treatments on June 15.
Although she finished radiation on Aug. 3 her chemotherapy was put on hold due to her blood platelets being too low.
She will continue treatment when these levels rise. Meanwhile, the family is grappling with grief over the unexpected death of her father on Aug. 6.
Tana was born in Goldendale and raised in Glenwood. She and Rick have raised two children, Carly, 21, and Richard, 19.
“These families are going through some tough times and we want to be able to bless them,” said Holloran.
He can be emailed for more information at firstname.lastname@example.org.