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Boxing card to raise funds for Irvine resident

Posted on May 9, 2024 by Ryan Dahlman

By Heather Cameron
Commentator/Courier

On Saturday, May 18, Irvine Sports Complex is playing host to ‘An Evening of Fights’ with the doors opening at 5 p.m. and the fights beginning at 7 p.m.

According to ‘Missy’ Melissa Stewardson, one of the organizers of the event, it is a fundraiser for local resident Joseph Hordos as he endures deep health struggles. Hordos, Stewardson says, began struggling with his health in 2017 after becoming weak and suffering pain in his back and legs to the point where he was ultimately hospitalized with inflammation of the spine. While Hordos was in the hospital, Stewardson says, extensive tests were run and he was eventually diagnosed with Neuromyelitis Optica. Since then, Stewardson says, Hordos has also been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. 

Stewardson says that Hordos was born in Medicine Hat, has been a lifetime resident of Elkwater and Irvine, was a member of the Volunteer Fire Department for over 10 years, and worked in the Elkwater and Irvine areas with Volker Stevin since 2002. Prior to his health struggles, Stewardson says, Hordos was a very outdoorsy man who was always camping and fishing.

Currently, Stewardson says, Hordos is no longer able to use his legs, is wheelchair dependent and is quickly losing use of his right arm and is currently seeking treatment options available to him, which take him to Calgary, Lethbridge and possibly further as new options present themselves.

“One trip to an appointment in Calgary costs $1000 and that is only the transportation, trips to Medicine Hat cost $150,” said Stewardson. “This is only one of many expenses in his life now. He’s very young. He’s 43 and it’s just very unfortunate.”

Stewardson says that she and her husband, former Olympic boxer Trevor Stewardson, who competed at the 2004 Olympics in Greece and now manages the Sports Complex out in Irvine, got in touch with the Medicine Hat Boxing Club where he used to box to see about arranging an event to raise enough money so that Hordos could get his own wheelchair accessible van.

“We’ve known Joe for 18 years and, he’s just always been a great guy and part of our community, so we just really want to step up and help,” said Stewardson. “His girlfriend did break down in tears when I told her what we were going to do. His girlfriend’s daughter jumped up to help right away. She said, ‘Whatever you need me to do, just tell me and I’ll do it’.” 

The event, Stewardson says, will include boxing among Medicine Hat Boxing Club, the Taber Boxing Club, Lethbridge Boxing Club, and another boxing club out of Saskatchewan along with a silent auction, an open lounge and concession. Stewardson says the Medicine Hat Boxing Club’s coach Kerry Fahlman has personally put a ton of work into making the event a success despite not even knowing Hordos.

“There’s been great support all around,” said Stewardson.

On top of that, Stewardson says, the Irvine Hotel next door to the Sports Complex will be hosting a steak dinner before the fights from 4 to 8 p.m. and $10 from every steak will also go to Hordos. Seating within the venue, Stewardson says, include tables that seat 8 people with ringside tables costing $400, standard tables costing $350, and standing tickets costing $25 a piece. 

“The community has been unbelievable,” said Stewardson. “We have sold out all 20 ringside tables already, which is huge, and then our regular tables are well on its way. The community has been great. I believe that’s what happens when you live in a small town. Everybody works together.”

For those who do not have money to give, Stewardson says, they can come give of their time by coming and helping set up tables and chairs or help set up the boxing ring if they need help with that. Stewardson says that those who are interested in possibly volunteering can contact her at (587)-277-5555.

“In the society that we’re living in today, be that person that can be kind,” said Stewardson. “Today is the day that everybody in our world needs to start to be a little kinder to each other. There’s just so much hate and there’s so much judgment in our world that we’re living in right now. Just be kind. Be kind. My husband and I have five children, heaven forbid something was to ever happen to him, you know, I would never expect it, but if my neighbour stepped up to help me, I think that that would mean the world to me. Just help each other. And that’s what we want to do. We really just want to help him.”

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