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Saturday event helps family struggling with cancer bills
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• WHAT: Souza Family Benefit for Debbie Souza
• WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
• WHERE: Calvary Community Church, 815 W. Lathrop Road
• COST: $25
• WHAT YOU’LL FIND: BBQ, Car Show, Motorcycle Show, Raffles and Music by Members of Tesla and Y&T.
• MORE INFO: Contact John Caldararo at (510) 209-0582

When Debbie Souza was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer, her husband had no choice but to take three months off of work while she underwent treatment.

That meant three months without a steady paycheck, three months without any income to cover the mortgage payment and three months of shuffling and arranging for the care the four children that still remain at home.

So when John Caldararo heard that his friend Rick Souza was planning on having a fundraiser to help offset some of the mounting costs, he offered to help – organizing a BBQ where family, friends and strangers could come and help out any way they could.

It quickly blossomed into much more.

With Rick Souza’s ties to Troy Luccketta – the drummer for the long-running hard rock band Tesla – the event quickly blossomed into a miniature concert where people could enjoy music from members of a band that have sold more than 14 million records. And it didn’t stop there.

Luccketta got on the phone and had a band mate commit to the event and brought in two members of the Oakland-based rock band Y&T – raising the stakes even higher.

But even with all of the glitz and the glamour that the event will bring to the community – tickets are $25 for the event which will be held on Saturday, Sept. 8 – it’s the reasoning for the fundraiser that really touches him.

“Seeing the kids is enough for me – seeing them smile and actually happy,” Caldararo said. “Keeping a roof over their head and making sure that they have a home is what’s important. And I’m hopeful that the community comes out and gives their support to a worthy cause like this.

“They really need the help.”

The Survivors Motorcycle Club will be on hand to cook up the pulled pork sandwiches, and a variety of gift baskets – some valued at as much as $200 – will be raffled off. Tickets will be available for $1.

Local band Braata will also be performing.

“Being able to help somebody else is the biggest gift that you can give somebody,” Caldararo said. “To be giving of your time – giving back to the community – is what it’s all about.

“It’s great to make money, but if you can’t help people that need it then what’s the point?”