Event planned to help Perryville family afford funerals

Published 8:34 am Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Photo submitted
Bradlee Aguilar-Moreno wearing his favorite color — green — and sitting in a Monster Truck, another one of his favorites.

A  Perryville family is hoping to raise money to cover the costs of two funerals through a “Perryville Strong” fundraiser event at Perryville Jamboree Friday night.

“We really appreciate it,” said Tonya Cole Aguilar-Moreno, mother of Bradlee Aguilar-Moreno and daughter of Vicki Ruiz. “Even if we raise $10, that’s $10 we didn’t have to figure out.”

Bradlee Aguilar-Moreno, her 9-year-old son, was diagnosed with cancer on Aug. 12, 2011. He has at least five tumors in his brain, Tonya Aguilar-Moreno said.

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The past six years have been hard on the family, not just battling Bradlee’s cancer, but watching as their friends have battled it, too.

“When I heard the word cancer, I never thought a child would have cancer … I would see the St. Jude commercials — I never thought I’d be in one. But now I’ve been in one,” she said.

Of the children Bradlee met when he was first diagnosed, Aguilar-Moreno said he had lost many of them to the disease.

“He has lost so many friends,” she said.

The primary goal of Friday’s event is to help the family pay for the funeral of Tonya Aguilar-Moreno’s mother, Vicki Ruiz, who died suddenly on Jan. 25.

“She had open heart surgery. It went well; she was in the hospital for about a month. The doctor was talking about sending her to Cardinal Hill, because she was having trouble walking, from laying in the hospital for a month,” Aguilar-Moreno said. “Within half an hour she was gone. It’s hard to believe.”

Aguilar-Moreno, the middle child with two brothers, said her mom simply had a “weak heart.” Her younger brother celebrated the birth of his twins in November. Their grandmother never got to meet them.

“Mom thought she had the flu. She didn’t want to give the babies anything … That’s been hard on my brother,” she said.

The funeral was held on Feb. 2 at Walden Funeral Home, which Aguilar-Moreno said had been really good at helping the family out. “They’re very nice people,” she said.

But she’s now planning a second funeral — one that doesn’t have a definite date, but will have a green casket, because green is Bradlee’s favorite color.

“When he wears camouflage, he believes no one can see him,” Aguilar-Moreno said, smiling.

Besides the color green, Bradlee also loves Hot Wheels and Monster Trucks — they hope to use a Monster Truck to transport the young boy’s casket to his final resting place when the time comes — and his favorite singer is Blake Shelton.

He’s a third-grade student in the special education classes at Perryville Elementary School, but Aguilar-Moreno said he hadn’t been since Christmas, in an effort to avoid the illnesses going around.

Bradlee is a happy boy, Aguilar-Moreno said.

“He’s always smiling, loves to meet people,” she said. “I’m his mom, so it sounds like I’m boasting. You could put Bradlee in a crowded room and everyone’s attracted to him — that’s the kind of person he is.”

“He’s the light,” said Chris Brummett, owner of the Perryville Jamboree, which is the host of the event. Brummett said he’s not the organizer, but has been happy to help with the fundraiser.

The event is scheduled from 6-10 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and free for children. Food will be paid for by donations and is being provided by Burgers and Bibles.

Money raised will be donated to the Walden Funeral Home to cover costs for the two funerals. Brummett said anyone willing to donate drinks can bring those by Main Street Furniture.

Brummett said the musicians will include Craig Lyons, Katie Hardin, the Kentucky Pluckers, the Carpenter Family, Jeremy Matherly and Kaitlyn Cheyenne Matherly, and Marcus Pride, a Charley Pride tribute artist.

“It will be high-quality entertainment,” Brummett said.

There will also be a silent auction, including handmade quilts.