Michael Hargon, 27, knew something was wrong last November when he started having vision problems, headaches and numbness on one side of his head.
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As his symptoms became progressively worse, he went in for surgery in February to remove what was originally thought to be a benign tumor the size of a plum. But the day after surgery, he and his doctors at Sutter Medical Center learned it was a cancerous growth.
Hargon said they believe it’s a very rare form of cancer and his tumor may have actually been there for five to 10 years.
“I didn’t realize how bad off I was until after the surgery,” he said. “Afterwards the pain was gone and my vision was better.”
Though he’s now facing up to a year’s worth of chemotherapy and radiation, Hargon doesn’t feel alone. For even with a serious illness, he is fortunate in being able to draw on the love and support of the people in Pollock Pines.
A longtime resident of the community — his parents have lived there 30 years — Hargon attended school in the Pollock Pines Elementary School District where his mom continues to teach. Later he graduated from El Dorado High School.
It was while he was in high school that he and best friend Joshua Hammonds founded a musical group called the Blue Steel Band. Hargon plays the keyboard and does the vocals. Joshua’s father, Rick, also plays in the band.
After graduating, Hargon served four years in the U.S. Air Force and is now in the Air Force Reserves. He worked at Intel until recently as a hardware technician. Now off from work because of his illness, he’s focused on recovering with the help of his girlfriend, family, friends and the people of Pollock Pines.
“I’m constantly receiving calls and offers of food,” he said. “If I need a ride, I have a handful of people I can call who will do it. And these are not just family and friends. The whole community from my whole life are coming together. It’s hard to comprehend the reality of cancer but also hard to comprehend the level of support I have. I’ve been told by different people in the community, ‘Just worry about recovery and we’ll worry about everything else.'”
Hammonds, who is coordinating the benefit, said they have received countless donations for the auctions as well as donations of food from Subway, Safeway, Raley’s, the Sly Park Resort and many others. She expects to raise $15,000. However since the organizers are not non-profit, donations are not tax-deductible.
“The amount of support in the community is overwhelming,” said Hammonds. “That’s why we love our community so much.”
With only 500 tickets available, Hammonds encourages people to pre-order tickets to ensure they are able to attend. “We won’t have any problem selling them all,” she said.
They are also taking pre-orders for T-shirts titled “Team Hargon. Our Own Warrior. Pollock Pines, Ca.” A few T-shirts will be available for sale the day of the event.
The benefit will be held April 13 from 3 to 8 p.m. at the Sierra Ridge Middle School, 2700 Amber Trail in Pollock Pines. Tickets for the taco dinner are $10. Dinner will be served from 4:30 to 7 p.m. People can order their advance tickets by contacting Hammonds at 530-644-4277.
Those who can’t attend the event but who want to make a donation can do so to the Michael Hargon Support Fund which has been set up at El Dorado Savings Bank.
People can also follow his medical progress on Facebook at Michael Hargon Support Page.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.