Gardnerville residents Mashelle Begovich and her daughter, Mary, will be working to raise $125,000 for Carson-Tahoe Hospital's new cancer center in the name of the family patriarch, the late Sharkey Begovich.
The well-known Gardnerville casino owner died of lung cancer a year ago. He would have been 77 today.
"My dad was a legend, especially for me. This is a way to keep his legend alive so no one ever forgets," Mashelle Begovich said. "Death from cancer is vicious. It was brutal for a man like my dad to have gone through something like that.
"I hope and pray this contribution will make a difference for someone, in some way," she said.
Dressed in jeans and a cowboy shirt, Mashelle Begovich was both forthright and articulate as she leaned against her pickup near Gardnerville's Heritage Park.
"My dad was my best friend, my mentor, the love of my life," she said.
The money will come to the center in $25,000 increments over the next five years.
Mashelle will be working with Ranae Louie, executive director of the Business Council of Douglas County, to organize fund-raisers. Louie is co-chair of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life and the two are confident they'll reach their goal.
The kickoff event, the Sharkey Begovich "Swing for a Cure" memorial golf tournament, was held in May of this year and another is scheduled for next year.
For 30 years, Sharkey hosted similar events, like the Serbian Christmas, an Eastern Orthodox tradition passed down from Sharkey's mother who ran a boarding house in Plymouth, Calif.
"My dad helped so many people here -- things no one knew about," Mashelle said. "He helped families adopt kids and when a family couldn't afford it, he'd paid for burial services. A lot of times, he didn't even know the people, but he'd make sure they were taken care of."
Pam Graber, spokeswoman for the Carson-Tahoe Hospital Foundation, said fund-raising efforts thus far, primarily through donations, total $3 million, or one-fourth of their goal. The cost for the 38,000square-foot center will be about $12 million.
Carson City has complete cancer services, but the center will bring those services under one roof. State-of-the-art radiation equipment will be on site, together with a multitude of services and resources.
Mashelle is organizing Sharkey's Memorial Cow Pasture Boxing for 6 p.m. Aug. 15 at Gardnerville's Stodick Park.
Initiated by Sharkey Begovich in 1970, the original event was a Douglas County tradition for years.
Jesse Brinkley will be up against Danny "Dynamite" Perez. ESPN is covering the event and Mashelle's nephew, Jeff Begovich, will be one of the early contestants during the exhibition portion of the program.
What: Cow Pasture Boxing
When: 6 p.m. Aug. 15
Where: Stodick Park