East County community coming together to support Elma student with leukemia

Bulldogs, Monte businesses backing rival school student with cancer

Several East County businesses and at least two football teams’ booster organizations — Shelton and Montesano — are coming together to support a rival who has been diagnosed with cancer.

Jesus Torres, an Elma High School senior football player, is in Seattle undergoing treatment for leukemia.

Torres started chemotherapy on Sunday, Nov. 1. The treatment could take years. For the first eight months, he will be in Seattle.

Friday night, he wanted to express his gratitude.

“Honestly, I’m just very thankful about how all these communities are coming together,” Torres said. “It’s like the day after (I was diagnosed), they were already starting fundraisers for me, which is pretty amazing. And then hearing about people in Montesano and Shelton … .”

He will be continuing his school work online while in Seattle.

His father, who is staying with him in Seattle and shares the same name, also expressed his gratitude.

“I’m very thankful for anybody who is willing to help my son,” the elder Torres said. “I’m proud of him and all my other kids also. This guy here, he’s very strong and is already planning his life ahead. I think this is going to be a little bump in his life. The support will make him even stronger than he already is. We just want to thank everybody.

“Our goal is to get Jesus all better.”

To show their support of him and his family, Torres’ teammates wore orange socks during last Friday’s game against Montesano. Bulldogs fans noticed and quickly learn why the Eagles were making this tribute.

This week, the Montesano football booster organization is raising funds to help support Torres and his family.

“The football booster program will be collecting donations at the game,” Kristina Hollatz, president of the Montesano football boosters organization, said. “We felt like it would be a good opportunity with a lot of the community being together to get a lot of good donations for the family.”

Several East County businesses are helping out too.

Bulldog Brew, Pub Monte, Gene’s Stop and Go, Coffee Shop, Coffee Coop, and the Rusty Tractor are among the businesses donating portions of their sales this weekend to the Torres family.

“The Shelton (High School) football boosters organization also is going to make a donation and give a gift,” Hollatz said.

Varsity Printworks in Montesano also is selling T-shirts with a special logo to support the Torres family.

“The issue really hit home with me because in fifth grade, my best friend was diagnosed with leukemia and he beat it,” Varsity Printworks owner Kevin Thompson said. “I don’t even know who this kid is.”

He said he’s sold about 150 shirts so far. People interested in ordering a shirt can contact Varsity Printworks through its Facebook page, facebook.com/varsityPrintworks, or by calling 360-591-5250. Get your order in by Nov. 18 to be a part of the first printing.

Tyler Thompson, part owner and general manager at the Rusty Tractor in Elma, says that Torres is an asset to the community.

“I could say he was a good worker, but that’s an understatement. As an operator of an organization … he is what you wish you could get. I never saw him on his phone one time, which is basically a superpower for someone his age,” Tyler Thompson said.

The Rusty Tractor is taking the sales from the top-two selling items on the menu this weekend and will donate it to the family. The business also has been accepting donations for the Torres family.

Tonight, the Montesano Bulldogs are playing King’s Way Christian at 7 p.m. at Rottle Field in Montesano.