Recently, one of our Teamsters 117 brothers was diagnosed with a rare incurable form of lymphoma. For all of you who are unaware of this situation, his name is Gabe Dizon. He is a truck driver at Sysco Food Service of Seattle.
He is a husband and also a father. I would call him a family man, but also a great guy who you will rarely see without a smile on his face. In his spare time you can probably find him out on the water, in the mountains, at his son Gabriel's soccer games or doing projects around his house.
Gabe was working long hours at Sysco providing for his family, while also making time to drive to Puyallup a few times a week for his treatments. This left him with less time to sleep, be with his family, and enjoy life in general. Anyone who works a blue collar job these days can relate to just how important family time is when you are finally off the clock.
Gabe is no stranger to the inside of a doctor’s office. He has had his fair share of battles throughout his life with medical conditions. It seemed quite unfair at the age of 32 he would be diagnosed with lymphoma. It started to make me think about just how indiscriminate cancer really is and how that could be me in his shoes.
After finding out about the lymphoma, Gabe didn't really tell many people, mainly kept to himself. His family ended up creating a GoFundMe account online and broke the news on Facebook. His sister Eva also started organizing a benefit concert to help raise money for his medical bills and a photo-therapy bed he could keep at his house so that he didn't have to make the commute to Puyallup for treatment.
After hearing the news about Gabe, I decided I would try to help organize some sort of fundraising on his behalf. My first thought was to write a letter to our Union explaining Gabe's situation and asking if they would be willing to make a donation to this worthy cause.
I contacted John Scearcy, President at the Local 117, and informed him of the situation. I was met with a very positive response and a promise to bring Gabe up at the Executive Board meeting in August where John would request a donation to help out a fellow Teamster.
A few days after Gabe's benefit concert in August, I received a call from John. He was excited to tell me that the Executive Board had approved a $500 donation to the cause! I thanked him for his efforts and let him know they were definitely appreciated.
As of today, Gabe has paid for his photo-therapy bed, and he is awaiting its delivery as I write this. The amount of people that came together for one person is amazing. We all became united for a cause. Not unlike that of the Union itself, we are all stronger when we band together.
I would like to thank the Union and everyone else who donated to this cause, it was great to be a part of it.
If you would like to make a donation to support Gabe and his family, you can access his GoFundMe account online.
This article was written by James Borsum, a Local 117 member at Sysco.