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Ballsfest event highlights fight against childhood cancer

Posted at 4:43 PM, Oct 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-27 22:02:02-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It’s an event that will draw some eyebrows with its name, Ballsfest. It’s a funny name but it’s a tackling the very serious issue of childhood cancer.

“I thought it was some basketball thing.”

That’s what came to mind for Baltazar Marquez when he saw the name Ballsfest, but once he realized why, he understood.

“Putting light into a dark situation. You sometimes need that comical relief,” he said.

The brains behind the event is Frank DeBlasi, who came up with the name after battling testicular cancer. He says the event shines a light on kids fighting all types of cancer and wants to go “Balls to the Wall” in helping them succeed.

“To be able to come in and share their stories and then surprise them with a major gift or experience, and recognize the battle they’re going through, is perhaps the most uplifting and fulfilling moment anyone can have,” DeBlasi said.

The patients highlighted are called “ballers” and are chosen by staff at local hospitals. Marquez was a "baller" himself last year and was given a scholarship to the College of Southern Nevada. It was a surprise he got while being treated for leukemia, and he says it allowed him to open up about his fight.

“That’s really something you don’t want to talk about, but now I’m more comfortable talking about it, obviously,” he said.

Marquez says he’s glad to be a “baller.”

“What they’re doing is phenomenal. All of the kids out here deserve to be recognized and there so many kids out there that need that support,” he said.

Support in the continued fight against cancer. To learn more visit ballsfest.org.