Community rallies together for Gilmore family
By David Yarger
When tragedy strikes, it's nice to know people have your back. In Niagara-Wheatfield, Anthony Gilmore can know members of the "Falcons Family" have his back when adversity strikes.
Gilmore, a coach with the Niagara-Wheatfield High School football program, was recently diagnosed with throat cancer in February and medical bills are piling up.
Step in Jennifer and Johnny Parks and Tammy Hayes. The trio decided to help the Gilmore family out, a basket auction and spaghetti dinner will be held with all proceeds heading to the Gilmore's.
From 2-7 p.m., Saturday, June 30, at the Niagara Active Hose, 6010 Lockport Road, those looking to make a difference can spend $10 on a spaghetti dinner, which includes salad, a roll, drink and dessert, and also a basket auction and live music.
Johnny Parks said he's known Gilmore for almost 40 years and the two are like brothers.
"He's always a competitor and wants to be the best," Parks said. "He's a great guy. He'll go all out, do anything to help, no matter what it was. It's hard to see a brother down like he is right now, but he's pushing through it."
White Chocolate will provide live music at the event. Parks said Gilmore's brother, Eddie Ray, donated his band's time for the fundraiser.
Along with the live music to hype up the crowd, there will be a basket auction, including a signed Kyle Okposo Buffalo Sabres hockey stick, as well as a Tim Hortons basket donated by Bob Burns. There will also be a 50/50 raffle and a cash bar.
For the dinner portion, Parks said the Ziegler family donated their services. Parks added that Gilmore was a big role model to Michael Ziegler, who tragically passed away in March.
"Gilmore was an inspiration to Mikey. When Mikey was in need, Gilmore was there to talk him through some of the situations. He wishes he could've helped him through a few more. ... They respect Gilmore enough and they were pretty much the first ones to reach out ... to try and help with the financial part," Parks said.
Parks said that Gilmore has been through a lot the past few months and with the bills piling up, he felt the fundraiser was necessary and called out the community to support.
"He was supposed to go in and just get his tonsils removed and the doctor looked and said 'We need to do a biopsy,' and looked at it and saw the cancer. ... Talking to him - he's very strong - he wants to go back to work, but they are a family in need. ... He was in the hospital for two weeks solid, because he was so dehydrated and weak from the chemo. ... It's taken a toll on him and financially ... and we reached out to our Niagara-Wheatfield community, who has always supported anything that we've had going on.
"The Wheatfield family is a very strong family in times of this. They always pull together and come out on top," Parks said.
The Parks family said the event is looking for additional baskets and donations to help the Gilmore family. Interested donors can contact Johnny at 716-343-1821 or Jennifer at 716-343-1820.
IF YOU GO:
- What: Fundraiser for Anthony Gilmore
- When: 2-7 p.m. Saturday, June 30
- Where: Niagara Active Hose, 6010 Lockport Road