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Fundraiser dinner Sunday to benefit Hayden wrestling coach

Andy Bockelman
Craig Press
From left, Mark, Dylan and Gayle Zimmerman celebrate Dylan's regional wrestling championship in February. Mark, a Moffat County and Hayden wrestling coach, is currently undergoing treatment for otopharynx cancer, with family and friends arranging for a benefit dinner Sunday, Sept. 29.
Craig Press photo

CRAIG — A beloved fixture of wrestling within the Yampa Valley has been experiencing hardships recently, which has prompted area folks to pitch in for a big effort this weekend.

A benefit dinner for Mark Zimmerman takes place from 4 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, at Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave. in Craig.

Mark, a Moffat County native, has spent many years coaching grapplers at multiple levels in Northwest Colorado, including Moffat County High School, Craig Middle School, Moffat County Youth Wrestling and Hayden High School.

A father of three — Drake, Darbi and Dylan — and the owner and operator of the family business Bullseye Taxidermy, Mark was diagnosed with oropharynx cancer in early 2017, a medical concern that has grown more serious in recent months as he undergoes treatments in Glenwood Springs.

“It’s gotten more out of control, so he’s been going in for chemo radiation treatments,” said Mark’s wife, Gayle Zimmerman. “It’s been pretty touch-and-go with how he’s been feeling.”

Family friend Lisa Lawton has been organizing the event, a spaghetti dinner and silent auction — admission is $15 for adults, $5 for kids — which features a wide variety of donated items for bid, including firearms, hunting and fishing trips, gift baskets, large meat cuts and many more big-ticket items.

And, while many have come from local and state sources, Lawton added that donors from across the nation have been happy to contribute.

“I have received donations from California, New York, Florida and all over Colorado,” she said. “The community has truly been awesome. The offers for help, food and silent auction items has been overwhelming.”

A campaign to donate to the Zimmerman family is available at gofundme.com/f/mark-zimmerman-cancer-battle.

Gayle noted her husband has kept a positive outlook while battling cancer, with a goal of being back to regular work and coaching as soon as he is able.

“He’s got goals and aspirations, and one of his big goals is he wants to get back with the wrestlers by January,” she said.

Gayle said the amount of people who have reached out on social media has been heartwarming.

“Some of the people that have donated to this cause are going through their own struggles, and they’re still willing to pay it forward,” she said. “A lady’s husband just passed away and she donated, some friends in Meeker who have gone through a lot have contributed, and people we don’t even know have made contributions. That, to me, is just really overwhelming.”

For more information on the dinner, call 970-846-4639 or visit facebook.com/Mark-Zimmerman-Benefit-100420128004774.


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