Rotary auction gathers lots of cash for students medical fight


Beaverton Rotarians walked away winners from their International Community Service Auction Friday night.

Not because they outbid each other for flashy pieces of jewelry or vacation trips, but because they raised their cards to support one of their own.

The numbered cards shot into the air as they were asked to contribute to a medical fund for Rony Montalvan, an 18-year-old who was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia six days before he was scheduled to return home to Peru after completing a year as a Beaverton Rotary exchange student at Beaverton High School.

With bids ranging from $1,000 to $25, Beaverton Rotarians and their guests pledged $17,650 to aid with mounting medical costs for his treatment.

The generosity of the group overwhelmed Rony, his mother Hilda Cueto de Montalvan, host family Terry and Kathy Tobin and his pediatric oncologist Dr. Janice Olson.

'It was wonderful,' said Terry Tobin following the 'paddle raise' for Rony. 'It was amazing.

'It was heart warming to see the support of all these people in the community.'

Olson, who is treating Rony through the Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders Program at Legacy Emanuel Children's Hospital, agreed.

'I think the Rotarians are very generous,' she said. 'I think it's great that they've been able to do this for him.

'I know the people in my office will do our level best to keep the costs for Rony's treatment down. Anything we can donate or get for cheap we will do it. We know it will be difficult for him to get everything he'll need in Lima, so we want to do as much as we can while he's here.'

Showing courage

Beaverton Rotary agreed to sponsor Rony for a second year to allow him to begin his treatment in the United States. But because of his age, he is no longer eligible for his father's medical insurance in Peru.

With three years of treatment planned for his road to recovery, medical costs are rising and will soon exceed his Rotary insurance coverage.

Beaverton Rotary wanting to aid with those costs identified Rony as the primary beneficiary of its annul auction.

In addition to the bids for Rony, Rotarians in the days following the auction wrote personal checks for another $1,100.

Beaverton Rotary President Dennis Doyle said he was proud of those who stepped forward to support Rony.

'Watching the bids come in brought a smile to a lot of faces,' Doyle recalled. 'His mother was in total disbelief. I think this has really started to trigger more attention for the need of a treatment plan when he goes home. We all really care about Rony.'

Olson agreed.

'Rony is one of the bravest kids I've met,' she said. 'He continues to show great courage and stamina.'

Rony has a long road ahead of him on his journey to recovery.