Courtesy of jessiefund.com
WHAT: H-O-R-S-E for Hope, a fundraiser to benefit the Mastan family.
WHEN: Saturday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
WHERE: Maranatha High (169 S. Saint John, Pasadena, CA)
What started out as a simple game of H-O-R-S-E to benefit Jessie Mastan’s family evolved into something much bigger.
Mastan, a Maranatha High School freshman who was part of the program’s swim team, passed away March 22 after a series of complications stemming from when she was diagnosed at the age of 12 with Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer.
In her honor, Maranatha will host H-O-R-S-E for Hope, a fundraiser to help Mastan’s family pay for medical expenses not covered by insurance, 11 a.m. to 3p.m. Saturday.
The event features a 96-player bracket with the winner earning $300 worth of gift certificates. The entry fee is $25, and those who donate an additional $25 will receive a free letter in every H-O-R-S-E game. There also will be a barbecue, bake sale and raffle, with all proceeds going to the Mastan family. Those wishing to take part in the tournament can contact Kevin Coats at 818-402-1653 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mastan’s older brother, Josh, is a senior who was part of Maranatha’s CIF-Southern Section Division IV championship-winning team from last year. He and his parents, Dave and Cathleen, are expected to attend.
Jessie, who grew up playing soccer and running track, underwent 11 rounds of chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant when she was diagnosed. Jessie later had her left pelvic bone removed.
“Doctors told her she was never going to walk again because nobody ever had after that,” said Jessie’s uncle, James Mastan.
Six months later, Mastan started walking again.
“Based on that,” James added, “they told the family they were never going to tell a child they would never walk again.”
Jessie seemingly beat cancer and went into remission last year. She became a symbol of hope, and fittingly was one of two kids featured on the City of Hope’s float in this year’s Rose Parade. It wasn’t long before the cancer resurfaced and Mastan again underwent chemo.
At the beginning of March, Jessie experienced headaches. She was taken to the hospital where she was kept overnight, and because of a compromising immune system, an extremely rare form of mold grew in her lungs. It traveled through her blood streams, causing headaches and later a massive stroke to the brain. She underwent brain surgery, fell into a coma and never fully recovered. She had some periods of consciousness, and at one point squeezed her father’s hand and communicated by blinking. She was taken off life support after nearly two weeks.
Mastan, who had a charitable fund set up in her name at www.jessiefund.com, was very well liked by teammates and classmates alike. Her uncle James said she had “probably in the neighborhood of 1,500 to 2,000 people attend her service.”