By Mickey Winfield, PNT Staff Writer
When Andy Mason heard that former Eastern New Mexico University Zia head coach Dan Buzard required additional surgery to combat a brain tumor, he felt compelled to do something.
So Mason solicited the help of ENMU senior Whitney Hobson and together, they hatched a plan.
“I got an e-mail from the school that said Dan was having another surgery,” Mason said. “And while thoughts and prayers are good, I wanted to do more than that.”
In fact, Buzard has undergone two surgeries in the last two weeks, treating infections and removing part of his frontal lobe. The coach has been battling the tumor since July of 2004 when he checked into an Albuquerque emergency room suffering from occasional seizures and sever headaches. According to a previous PNT story, the Zias coach was diagnosed with a brain tumor eight centimeters in diameter, putting pressure on his optic nerve.
“Coach Buzard has been an upstanding citizen of our community,” Hobson said. “And we wanted to be there for him and his family.”
Mason, a Spanish teacher at Portales High School, and Hobson, decided to organize a community bike benefit with all donations going to help Buzard and his family.
They are asking bike riders in Roosevelt and Curry counties hop on their ten-speeds, take pledges and join them Dec. 17 at the Portales Town and Country convenience store on U.S 70 at 11 a.m., and ride as far as you want for the cause. Many of the riders will be pedaling to Clovis’ Hillcrest Park, about a 19-mile ride.
“We are taking donations for coach Buzard because we want to help him,” Hobson said. “And for those of us who are avid cyclists, we thought this would be one of the best solutions.”
Hobson says donations will be accepted at any time, and pledges will be accepted per mile or as a total pledge.
“If somebody pledges 10 cents per mile, it works out to only about $1.90 for the entire ride,” Hobson said.
Mason and Hobson are also hoping local business will offer goods and services for the cause including car dealerships that might provide vehicles to travel the route and help bring people back to town.
Business and individuals interested in participating or donating can call Hobson at 356-8885.