A fundraiser has been set to benefit 2001 Stephenville High School graduate Justin Monk, who recently learned that he has a rare neurological cancer in his brain and spinal cord, according to a former schoolmate who is helping organize the event.
The benefit, dubbed Monk Strong Football/Cheer Camp & Family Fun Day, will be Saturday, March 16, at Stephenville High School. The event will be held from 9 a.m.-2 p.m.
Last October, Monk was one of five new inductees into the Stephenville High School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Aaron Collier, a friend of Monk who played with him on Stephenville High School’s back-to-back state football championship teams in 1998 and 1999, said Monk learned of his cancer diagnosis about six weeks ago.
In January, Monk was diagnosed with PPTID (parenchymal tumor of intermediate differentiation). Collier noted that Monk is currently receiving radiation and chemotherapy at Baylor Scott and White Medical Center in Temple to treat multiple tumors in his brain and spinal cord.
Monk, who was a starting linebacker and went on to graduate from Tarleton State University, had been working as a registered nurse in the Hamilton Healthcare System emergency room. He was the first-ever state champion in powerlifting for SHS, and led the Yellow Jackets to a boys powerlifting team title.
He and his wife, Monica, live in Hamilton County with their four children, Jansen, 10, Caden, 8, Kinsley, 3, and Addley, six months.
“We just do what we can to assist Justin and his family,” Collier said, noting that Monk had served four years in the Marines and was a squad leader during a tour of duty in Afghanistan in 2005. “The expenses of treatment are starting to pile up. Monica has been by his side most of the time.”
The benefit will include both a football and a cheerleading camp for youth to be staged on the SHS practice fields, as well as a silent auction and a bake auction in Gandy Gym.
Other activities will include bounce houses and face painting. There will be no admission charge to enter the gym, but each activity will have its own participation fee.
T-shirts featuring the words “Monk Strong Football/Cheer Camp & Family Fun Day are also being sold to benefit Monk.
Collier, vice president of Collier Consulting, said flyers will be provided to each teacher in the Stephenville ISD.
The flyer states, “This family is in for the fight of their lives and they need our community’s support. We encourage you to get involved and be a part of this amazing man and his family’s journey in their battle against cancer. All proceeds from this benefit will go to assist the Monk family with their medical and living expenses.”
In addition to the camps, auctions and money raised with the other events, company sponsorships are also being sold.
For more information, call 254-968-8741 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Those who pre-register online starting March 1 will receive a T-shirt.