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Friends Matter

Aug 02, 2018 10:24AM

Friends Matter

Overwhelming Outpouring of Love for Osiel and Bella

Photos by Conrad Rowling and Sawyer Gieseke.


Mark Hughes, one of Osiel’s former coaches from St. Catherine’s CYO basketball when he was in 4th-8th grade, organized a fundraising event to assist Alhambra graduate Osiel Mendoza, diagnosed with ALS just two years ago at the age of 21, and his childhood sweetheart, Bella. When asked what promoted the idea, Hughes explained, “Osiel was always a kind and caring young man and the best teammate you could imagine. He continues to dedicate himself to causes that are bigger than himself and support others, and he even does fundraising for ALS research.” Newlyweds Bella and Osiel “experience typical challenges like any newlywed couple with big dreams, but their struggles are exacerbated by this dreadful disease,” said Hughes.


Mark and his wife were visiting the couple one evening and brought up the idea of hosting a fundraising event with the goal of raising enough money to cover their rent for a year. Mark added, “They are so humble and modest that it took a lot of arm twisting to convince them to let us do it.  Once we had their approval, I called about a dozen of our dearest friends who all know what wonderful people they are, and we formed our committee.”


The group went to work immediately and came up with the event concept of collecting pledges and walking up Mt. Wanda. Within just eight weeks, they had met their goal of raising $25,000. But the community support didn’t let up.  The donations exceeded their goal, raising more than $43,000 for the couple. Osiel and Bella were presented with the check at the celebration following the walk, and it was obvious they were overcome with emotion.


The committee is overwhelmed with the outpouring of love the community has demonstrated and would like to thank all the donors, including the many local businesses that made in-kind donations. Concord Iron Works was our title sponsor, Roxx on Main provided a breakfast buffet, Five Suns Brewery supplied beer, both Viano Vineyards and Bray Vineyards offered wine, and The New Frantics performed for the 150 attendees that joined in on the walk to the top of Mt. Wanda. It was all followed with a celebration at the Hughes home. Mark added, “It was truly a spectacular gathering of our local community.”


If you would like to make a donation, please email [email protected] to coordinate.




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